Women’s Game

Anya Shrub­sole on mak­ing up for lost time at the WBBL

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Char­lie Tal­bot-Smith

ANYA Shrub­sole had to watch on from the other side of the world af­ter miss­ing out on last year’s in­au­gu­ral Women’s Big Bash.

But the 25-year-old has made up for that dis­ap­point­ment and then some with the Perth Scorchers this year as they pre­pare for to­mor­row’s fi­nal against the Syd­ney Six­ers.

Shrub­sole – Eng­land Women’s Crick­eter of the Year in 2016 – has formed an im­pres­sive new-ball pair­ing with com­pa­triot Kather­ine Brunt for the Scorchers.

The duo have com­bined for 17 wick­ets in the com­pe­ti­tion and, even more im­pres­sively, are two of the most eco­nom­i­cal bowlers.

Shrub­sole (5.35) and Brunt (5.36) will there­fore re­turn to Eng­land full of con­fi­dence for a busy six months that cul­mi­nates in a World Cup on home soil.

“It’s been amaz­ing, and I am so pleased that I was part of it,” said the Som­er­set seamer.

“I didn’t play this last year and I re­ally wanted to get out here and get in­volved this time around so I am very grate­ful to Perth for giv­ing me that op­por­tu­nity.

“Out here in Aus­tralia all the pitches are so good. And as a fast bowler that means you need to learn how to bowl on good pitches, still get wick­ets and keep the runs down.

“But as much as any­thing, you learn the most from be­ing in a new team, a new en­vi­ron­ment.

“There is a bit of pres­sure on overseas play­ers to per­form in ev­ery game, so it has been a great ex­pe­ri­ence for me – learn­ing not to let that af­fect me and stick to do­ing my job.

“It’s been amaz­ing tak­ing the new ball along­side Kather­ine. We are build­ing a re­ally good partnership both on and off the field.

“It was good to have some­one fa­mil­iar when I first ar­rived – that has been re­ally en­joy­able for me and ob­vi­ously she has per­formed re­ally well.”

The Scorchers v the Six­ers is the match-up for both the women’s and the men’s Big Bash fi­nals – and the Perth fran­chise would love to up­set the odds.

“It’s been a bril­liant cam­paign and we are ab­so­lutely de­lighted to have reached the fi­nal,” added Shrub­sole.

“We put to­gether a re­ally good per­for­mance in the semi­fi­nals and we will take a lot of con­fi­dence into the fi­nal. If we play our best, we can win it.

“They beat us twice in the group stages but we take some so­lace from the fact that those were prob­a­bly our two worst per­for­mances and we still ran them close.

“They are a very strong team – they showed that in the semis – and will be the favourites but we know we have match­win­ners in this side. Win­ning the Big Bash would give us a lot of con­fi­dence to take into an im­por­tant year. And with the blokes also in the fi­nal, it would be great to com­plete the dou­ble.”

The year 2016 was one of change for Eng­land’s women as Mark Robin­son took charge and stal­warts like Char­lotte Ed­wards and Ly­dia Green­way moved on from the play­ing staff.

But Shrub­sole has seen the green shoots of a new Eng­land team tak­ing shape af­ter down­ing Pak­istan, West Indies and Sri Lanka last year.

“Ev­ery Eng­land girl who has been out at the Big Bash here has per­formed re­ally well,” she added.

“As a team we have shown over the last six months that we have made some re­ally big strides and we have car­ried that on here.

“This is a big six months for us lead­ing up to the World Cup. It’s go­ing to be a huge year with a home World Cup – it does not get a lot bet­ter than that.

“It has been a chal­leng­ing year, a lot has hap­pened to the squad but we are mov­ing for­ward now as a team.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Char­ac­ter: Anya Shrub­sole in ac­tion for the Perth Scorchers in the Women’s Big Bash

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