Join the hub? WBBL stars brace for unique season
With a big asterisk over the WBBL schedule, the competition's leading players say they're ready for whatever is thrown at them
31 July 2020, 06:08 PM AEST
Australia stars Megan Schutt, Beth Mooney and Jess Jonassen are backing their clubs to handle a Rebel WBBL season expected to throw up plenty of twists and turns.
The trio, along with the rest of Australia, have watched closely how COVID-19 restrictions have seen sporting competitions forced to uproot teams at short notice and race across borders to form hubs in order to keep their competitions running.
When Cricket Australia released the fixture for WBBL|06 earlier this month, a three-week Sydney hub was already built into the schedule to allow flexibility, while each other state is currently due to host a weekend of matches.
But CA made it clear the fixture still came with a big asterisk, given nothing is certain during the ongoing pandemic.
"That’s all up in the air at the moment," Mooney conceded earlier this week, after signing a new two-year deal with Perth Scorchers.
"The most important thing we can do as teams is to be as flexible and agile as we can as it evolves.
"I’m expecting things to change – and change quickly if that’s the case – but hopefully October 17 comes around and our first game is still in Perth, I’m really looking forward to that."
Australia’s contracted players are accustomed to long periods on the road and will not be daunted by the prospect of a hub, be it for three weeks in Sydney, or longer if circumstances dictate.
And the carnival-weekend style of previous WBBL seasons means players are used to playing matches on consecutive days in the one location.
Brisbane Heat were the nomads of WBBL|05, playing just three regular-season matches at their home at Allan Border Field as they took the game to regional parts of Queensland in between interstate trips.
With that in mind, new captain Jonassen knows her team will be up to the challenges that lie ahead.
"It’s something none of us have ever been exposed to," Jonassen said on Thursday.
"We’ve tried to be as adaptable as we can ... and if we can bring those elements of adaptability through the whole season that’ll hold us in good stead.
"There is a lot of certainty still and we might have to be in hubs (for longer) … we need to be prepared for that but at the same time we’ll go along as business as usual until we’re told otherwise."
Queensland has recently become the temporary home of both the Australian Football League and Super Netball, and Jonassen believes the state also has the credentials to become a Big Bash hub if required.
"We’ve got a lot of amazing facilities and we’ve got exceptional weather – Queensland is starting to turn into the sporting capital of the world, so why not bring cricket up here as well?" she said.
Australia and Strikers spearhead Schutt knows well the challenges of long periods spent away from home, but she believes the close bond that exists at the Adelaide club will help her teammates adjust to a season unlike any other.
"There had to be a hub, so we understand that and (the location) might even change," Schutt told cricket.com.au.
"The fact there’s more broadcast matches than ever before is such a good opportunity.
"I thought we were going to lose games for sure, so the fact we’ve kept all 14 and there are more broadcast than ever is a really cool opportunity.
"And the fact we’re still in a standalone window backs us to keep playing the cricket we did last year.
"The fact we’ve even got a season at all is really cool … we’ll be in our favourite colours and we get to play some cricket. We’ve a pretty flexible bunch."