What started as a simple way to cope with a hot day is turning into something far more special for Adelaide Strikers allrounder Sophie Devine – and it’s uniting the Rebel WBBL.
Devine had social media buzzing after she donned a blue Strikers headband in her team’s win over the Melbourne Stars last month, in a match where she struck 95 and took five wickets.
Having picked up the headband at the Strikers’ family day, Devine explained at the time she wore it while bowling because she “couldn’t stop sweating” after her explosive knock.
But after her bold fashion statement went viral, Devine decided she’d try and spread the headband love across the Big Bash – and all in the name of charity.
Since then, she’s been challenging her rivals to follow her lead and wear a headband, offering to donate $100 to the charity of her opponent’s choice.
I’m keen to grow the headband trend so I’ve got an idea💡I want to nominate a couple of people from the teams we come up against in the @wbbl to wear a headband. In return I’ll donate $100 to the charity of their choice. First up the @sixersbbl on NYE! 🎉 #wbbl04 #headband pic.twitter.com/zsLssrii6K— Sophie Devine (@sophdevine77) December 28, 2018
“There was a little bit of attention around (the headband), it was more to do with my performance than anything else, and I had a chat to Jamie (Anderson) our media manager for our team and said, ‘Why don’t we try and make something of it?’,” Devine told cricket.com.au.
“I wasn’t thinking it would catch on as well as it has, it was just to have a bit of fun and see if we could get some of the other girls in the others teams to jump on board.
“Chucking in a charity for a good cause made sense to me.”
.@SixersWBBL Sarah Aley & Dane van Niekerk got on board the #headbandchallenge today, earning $100 for the @SonyFoundation, courtesy of @sophdevine77! 😇👏@HeatWBBL, we’re comin’ for you next! 👀 #BlueEnergy #WBBL04 pic.twitter.com/Gms3onZyHy— AdelaideStrikersWBBL (@StrikersWBBL) December 31, 2018
Sydney Sixers duo Dane van Niekerk and Sarah Aley donned the headband for their New Year’s Eve clash against the Strikers at Adelaide Oval, while Heat players Jemma Barsby and Sammy-Jo Johnson joined in the fun in Mackay on Saturday.
For the Heat, their chosen cause – MS Queensland – was particularly close to their hearts, after Barsby was diagnosed with the condition three-and-a-half years ago.
Some @HeatWBBL legends have gotten on board @sophdevine77’s #headbandchallenge - @JemmaBarsby and @SammyJoJohnson2 🙌 Watch out, @HurricanesWBBL, you’re next! 👀 If you’d like to donate to MS Qld, click here 👉 https://t.co/N8EYLnFkFv pic.twitter.com/GXgmNJDsdb— AdelaideStrikersWBBL (@StrikersWBBL) January 5, 2019
And in the Renegades’ local derby at the MCG, Devine’s countrywoman Lea Tahuhu, alongside Maitlan Brown, wore red headbands following an offer from the WBBL to donate $500 to the charity of their choice.
“It’s been a bit crazy actually,” Devine reflected.
The New Zealand star also hopes fans and other players will get on board with the chosen causes.
“I’m not as loaded as people (might think) but one hundred dollars is something I think is a really valuable contribution to whatever charity the teams choose and hopefully I can get some more people to chip in as well, who might have a bit more coin than I do,” she said.
“It’s about raising awareness and having a bit of fun with it.”
After @danevn81 got on board with @sophdevine77 ’s nomination, we’d like to see a few more headbands!@RenegadesWBBL and @StarsBBL, the first headband we see during the NYD Melbourne Derby, we’ll match Sophie’s donation– and up it to $500! Show us what you’ve got! #WBBL04 pic.twitter.com/eSrWvaOGcC— Rebel Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) December 31, 2018
The willingness of her opponents to jump on board is a sign of the spirit in which the WBBL is played, Devine believes.
“It’s not the nicest fashion statement to be making, but it’s nice when there’s a couple of us looking like plonkers together rather than standing out like a sore thumb,” she said.
“Something that’s massively important to is being able to have a laugh, because not just in cricket but in life things can be pretty heavy at times.
“If we can hopefully put a smile on a little kid at the ground or an adult, just to see a smile on a face because I’m looking like a bit of a clown, then I’m all for it.
“It’s almost a close-knit community, the women’s cricket circle, and the way the other teams have got on board is fantastic and it shows the spirit the game is played in.”
Devine’s headband hasn’t just been setting a trend on-field in the WBBL either.
When the Strikers arrived at training at Mackay ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Heat, she was delighted to find some headband-wearing fans at training.
The #headbandchallenge has spread north! 🌴 #BlueEnergy #WBBL04 pic.twitter.com/0TVW73xTLo— AdelaideStrikersWBBL (@StrikersWBBL) January 4, 2019
“It was awesome, if at the end of the day we can aspire some girls not only to play cricket but to wear the headbands as well, that shows the reach of the WBBL, which is really cool.”
Letting her opponents choose their charity was part of the incentive for Devine, but with four games remaining for Adelaide – two against the Hurricanes and two against the Scorchers – the allrounder is quietly hoping a cause close to her own heart will have a chance to shine.
“I’m a type one diabetic and have been for 12 or 13 years now, so I’d love it if for one of the games I can twist either Hobart or Perth’s arm to have donate to something that’s special to me,” she said.
Devine will return to New Zealand at the end of WBBL|04 for a series against India, but she’s considering taking the headband trend back across the Tasman.
And when New Zealand return to Australian shores in February for the three-match Commonwealth Bank ODI series, don’t be surprised if she’s sporting a black headband with a white fern.
“It could be a great opportunity to whip it out and put a fern on it,” Devine said.
“I’m sure the Australians would love to (wear gold headbands), I’ve heard Ellyse Perry really wants to jump on board.
“If I can get her in a headband my life would be complete.”