Her debut was full of promise as one of the team’s next generation showed her pace
Darcie Brown is hoping to soak up knowledge and experience from all corners during the tour of New Zealand as Australia’s young quick bowlers push each other to elevate the speed gun.
Eighteen-year-old Brown made her debut in Napier on Tuesday, finishing with figures of 1 for 26 with her first three overs, all bowled in the Powerplay, costing just 10. Her last over was taken for three boundaries but with her final ball she was able to open her account when Frankie Mackay was caught at point.
“The ball wasn’t swinging as much…she was seeing them pretty well and I was kind of bowling them in the slot. I’m going to have a look at that last over with [bowling coach] Ryan Harris about how I can adapt to a player like her,” Brown said. “Ryan has been really good. It’s his first tour with the girls as well so we’ve got that in common. Happy to have him and his experiences to learn off.”
Working on when to make use of the skiddy bouncer she possesses is among the areas Brown is keen to improve. “I need to plan around who to bowl it to and when the right time is to bowl it. I bowled one yesterday and I think it nearly hit my foot, so just need a bit more practice with it and hopefully it can become quite a good weapon for me. Got a bit of work to do.”
Brown replaced fellow quick bowler Tayla Vlaeminck in the side – the pair may be rotated again for the decider as Australia manage their fast bowlers – and there is already some inter-squad rivalry building which can make life uncomfortable for the Australia batters during net sessions.
With them both capable of pushing their speed upwards of 120kph, if they did team up in the same XI it would be among the fastest pairings put together
“We are both kind of competitive and Tayla is an absolute legend and has been really great to me coming into this squad,” Brown said. “Will be a bit of a teamwork thing to push each other to get a bit quicker. I’m just happy to watch her, to be able to bowl with her in a game would be pretty cool but we’ll see what happens.”
Those in the Australia squad had a glimpse of what the pairing could be like when Brown and Vlaeminck bowled against the likes of Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy during match simulations in the two weeks of managed isolation
“It was heaps of fun,” she said. “We were just discussing our plans – ‘that was a really good ball, that one was quick wasn’t it’ – we just had a blast out there. Was just good to bowl with her and learn off her.”
Australia will be looking to bounce back from defeat and take the series at Eden Park – a ground where they have never played before – which would keep alive their unbeaten run in T20 cricket going back to 2017 when they lost against England during the Ashes. Since then they have won bilateral series against New Zealand (twice), Pakistan, England, West Indies and Sri Lanka along with two tri-series wins and two T20 World Cups.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo