Erin Fazackerley tends to stand out in a crowd, but it’s not just the young Tasmanian quick’s height that has people talking.
Fazackerley is more than 180cm tall and her height, combined with her natural athleticism, has seen the 20-year-old compile quite a list of achievements in a short time.
In the last 12 months she’s debuted in state and Rebel WBBL cricket for Tasmania and the Hurricanes, and represented the Governor-General’s XI against England.
And with Australia searching for fast bowlers who are genuinely quick wicket-takers, it’s not surprising Cricket Australia is excited.
Fazackerley is a member of the National Performance Squad overseen by high performance coach Leah Poulton – a group of 13 rising athletes tipped for higher honours who are spending a large chunk of the winter training at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre.
"I don’t know how tall Erin is, but she’s well over six feet,” Cricket Australia high performance coach Leah Poulton told cricket.com.au.
"That’s what caught our eye when we first noticed her in Tasmania.
"She’s a fast bowler who uses bounce as major asset and she’s a very athletic girl who also played a high level of tennis and netball.
"She’s got very good agility, and now our main job with her is to get her nice and strong."
Cricket ability clearly runs strong in the Fazackerley genes – Erin’s aunt Kim was the first Tasmanian woman to represent Australia, playing three Tests and nine ODIs between 1992 and 1996.
Given her pedigree, it’s not surprising Fazackerley ended up in cricket – although she also tried her hand at netball, tennis and soccer growing up, before settling on cricket as the game she was going to pursue at the elite level.
"I was playing all four sports all one stage so I was a bit busy," Fazackerley laughed. "But in the end, while I enjoyed all sports, I was really loving cricket and I had better opportunities with that so that ended up leading the way."
Fazackerley wasn’t born when her aunt played for Australia, but she says her relative is proving a valuable resource as the 20-year-old looks to forge her own path at the highest level.
"When I was younger she was living in Queensland, but she’s been really helpful,” she said.
"In the last few years especially I’ve done some bowling training with her that’s been really helpful and it’s nice to have someone who knows a lot about cricket and who is easily accessible to learn from."
Participating in the NPS program covers everything from fitness and skills to nutrition and developing leadership skills, and Fazackerley’s enthusiasm is infectious as she talks about training alongside Australian contracted players including Meg Lanning, Rachel Haynes and Megan Schutt in Brisbane.
"In the women’s game I look at Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning (to model my game on) so having the opportunity now train with them, do sessions and get tips and just having them around is really cool,” she said.
"I actually got to use Meg Lanning’s bat the other day which was pretty cool, because mine was apparently too heavy."
As she prepares for another busy summer with the Tigers and Hurricanes, Fazackerley also hopes to put her best foot forward again should a chance arise to represent the CA XI in a tour match against New Zealand, or again play for the Governor-General’s XI.
"I’m just hoping to get better at everything I can so it’s really cool that the Australian girls have been up here for us to learn from."
Commonwealth Bank T20I series v NZ
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra
Commonwealth Bank ODI series v NZ
February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth
February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne