But the times they are a’changin’
We’ve got another cracking weekend of cricket coming up, and although the Stars are by far and away the best team at the moment, I think there’s going to be a lot of jostling right til the last game for the other three places on top of the ladder.
Can my beloved Heat get into the top three and grab a three-peat against long odds? I hope so, but I’m picking the Stars to go all the way now. Even if the Heat make the top four, and/or the final, the Stars just look way too slick and clinical.
I’m not even going to make any predictions for the rest of this season, because it seems that I have the black thumb of putting the mockers on teams and players. Every time I pick a team to win, they lose (or only JUST scrape across the line), and for some reason, as soon as I trade a player from my Dream11 fantasy team, they perform.
Cue hand smacking forehead.
So from now on, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the cricket and marvel over the up-and-coming young talent.
Speaking of up-and-coming young talent, I found out a couple of weeks ago that my cousin’s 12-year-old daughter has made her regional rep side for cricket.
She’s only been playing for a year, and her mum took her down to the selection day because she thought she’d have fun and get some great experience.
And then she goes and gets picked.
And then a few days later I learn that she’s been bowling at 70km/hr!
At 12 years old!
I did a quick google (as you do) to find out averages for speed-for-age (everything I find is boy-focused because of course it is), and I discovered that under 15 boys are bowling at an average of 69.5km/hr.
So, yeah, my cousin’s kid is bowling as fast as a 15yo boy.
And that’s amazing and everything, but the MOST amazing thing for me is that this kid didn’t even like cricket before.
Her mum and dad LOVE cricket and were disappointed that none of their girls were interested in it.
Then I published the first book in my Alice Henderson series (On Debut) and sent my cousin a copy of the ebook, which she and the girls read. Following that, my cousin took the girls to their first WBBL game in Mackay. Miss 12 (Miss 9 at the time) and her older sister fell in love with the game.
(If you want to read a bit more about that story, I wrote about it on my blog a couple of years ago. You can find it here).
For years, I’ve been saying the mantra “You can’t be what you can’t see”, and over the last decade, the women’s cricket team has done so much to get little girls interested in the sport, just by playing and being front-and-centre on TV.
The last 6 years of the WBBL, in particular, has done wonders. I love that when I talk to friends and family about ‘the cricket’ now, we have to clarify whether we’re talking about the men or the women.
And to be really honest, whenever I’m talking about ‘the cricket’, I’m almost ALWAYS referring to the women 🙂
The investment Cricket Australia and the State organisations have made over the last few years in their women’s pathways is really starting to show dividends. Phoebe Litchfield, Annabel Sutherland, Hannah Darlington, Charli Knott, and any of the other young players coming through are proof in the pudding.
Although it’s going to be hard over the next few years to watch my favourites like Healy, Lanning, Harris, Perry, JJ, and Moons retire, it’s comforting to know that there is a whole new cohort of young guns just waiting in the wings, itching to get their chance to play for one of the best teams in the world.
And that, as a mad cricket fan and frustrated coulda been player, is something the be excited about.
PS Miss 12 is playing at State this weekend, so go well little champion!
(This post first appeared in the Armchair Cricket Fan pop-up newsletter. It runs during the Australian summer and in it, I talk mainly about women’s cricket. It’s separate from my author newsletter, and you can sign up here.)