CommBank Women's Ashes - ODIs
Breakout summer has McGrath primed for world stage
After a scarcely believable summer in which she finished as player of the series against both India and England, Tahlia McGrath is ready to take on the world
Laura Jolly at Junction Oval
8 February 2022, 08:18 PM AEST
Five years ago, injury ruined Tahlia McGrath's dream of making it into Australia's ODI World Cup squad.
This time around, the allrounder is in the form of her life after a breakout summer of international cricket, and poised to play a major role in Australia's title hopes.
McGrath received her second player-of-the-series award of the summer on Tuesday, backing up the gong she earned against India in October by taking out the Peden-Archdale medal for a standout Ashes campaign with both bat and ball.
She finished as the equal leading wicket taker alongside Katherine Brunt, and only skippers Meg Lanning (254 runs) and Heather Knight (253) scored more runs across the three formats.
It is the first time the medal – which was introduced in 2001 – has been claimed by a player other than Ellyse Perry or Knight since the Ashes became a multi-format contest in 2013.
Tahlia McGrath's 2022 Ashes campaign
Matches: 6 | Innings: 5 | Runs: 225 | HS: 91no | Ave: 56.25 | SR: 79.78
Wickets: 11 | Average: 14 | Economy: 4.01 | BBI: 3-4
"I'm just loving contributing to the team - you look around and it's a team full of stars and someone different stands up every time," McGrath said on Tuesday.
"I'm enjoying my cricket at the moment and hopefully we've got a big World Cup coming up."
The 26-year-old has come a long way from the shy 21-year-old who made her international debut against South Africa in late 2016.
Back then, she had hoped to make Australia's squad for the 2017 World Cup in the United Kingdom.
But instead of being able to push her case for selection at a pre-tournament camp, McGrath had to watch from afar after being struck down by stress fractures in her back during an Australia A tour a couple of months earlier.
This time, McGrath has repaid the confidence of the national selectors who handed her a Cricket Australia contract in 2020 despite not having played an international game since 2017 – a decision made with this ODI World Cup (at that stage due to be played in early 2021) in mind.
She played her first international match since the 2017 Ashes against India in September and has not looked back through a dominant summer.
"I'm stoked, I've never been to a World Cup before," McGrath said.
"I've been a reserve player for about three.
"This has been a tournament I've been eyeing off for a long time and I cannot wait to get on that plane over to New Zealand and get stuck into it."
McGrath started the Ashes with a player-of-the-match display in front of her family and friends at Adelaide Oval, hitting 91 not out and taking three wickets.
She followed up with 52 in the Test, then took six wickets in three matches as Australia swept the ODI leg of the Ashes.
Looking back at her journey back to Australian colours, McGrath credited programs including the National Performance Squad and Australia A tours, for her continued development while outside the national contracted group.
"I've just got a real confidence, a plan about my game at the moment and just simplify everything," McGrath said.
"I try to take the scoreboard out of it, take the situation out of it and just back my game and my strengths with bat and ball.
"It was a long journey to get back into the Aussie side and I was quite lucky that Cricket Australia had programs in place so I still got to travel to places like England, India and Sri Lanka and just chip away at my game.
"Getting back into the Aussie team, I felt ready and confident so it's nice to be able to contribute to some team success."
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes v England
Australia Ashes squad: Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Stella Campbell, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (vc), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland
England Ashes squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Maia Bouchier, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver (vc), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt
Australia won the multi-format series 12-4
First T20: Australia won by nine wickets
Second T20: No Result
Third T20: Match Abandoned without a ball bowled
Test match: Match Drawn
First ODI: Australia won by 27 runs