For years it’s been Australia’s men’s bowling cartel that has held Justin Langer’s team together and dominated the headlines too.
The names Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood synonymous with the Australian summer and fast bowling.
But now young girls and boys won’t just have to look to the men for inspiration, with their own collection of quicks coming through the system and pressing for regular roles in the Australian women’s team.
Just ask captain Meg Lanning and the world’s best wicket-keeper batsman Alyssa Healy, who each received some chin music during some centre wicket practise ahead of Sunday’s opening T20 against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
“We had quite a fascinating centre-wicket the other day,” Australia’s women’s coach Matthew Mott tells foxsports.com.au, “it was lively and we had a full on scenario and young Darcie bowled with Taylor Vlaeminck and I think everyone there was excited by it.
“They were bowling to Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy – they knocked a couple of wickets early and asked a few questions, particularly upstairs. A few bumpers and got the ball through to the keeper.
“It was exciting and I think everyone was thinking was genuinely looking and thinking, ‘that’s going to be amazing if we get them together’.”
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Australia, with their new bowling coach Ryan Harris on-board, are likely to take a slowly, slowly approach with some of their young quicks.
After all, Darcie Brown, the tearaway from South Australia, is only 18-years-old while Taylor Vlaeminck and Belinda Vakarewa are in their early twenties.
Throw in a fit-again Ellyse Perry and Australia’s women’s team have four quicks to put the fear in most batsmen around the world.
Brown and Vlaeminck both bowl around the 120 k/pH mark.
To put that in perspective, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Australia’s quickest of all time, bowled around the 125 k/pH mark.
Perry bowls around the 115 k/pH mark.
So the need for speed is something that is exciting for Australia’s women’s team and most importantly, it gives young children someone to aspire towards, according to Mott.
“I just think it’s about having heroes,” Mott says.
“Your young bowlers, your 15 and 16-year-olds, are going to see Darcie Brown, your Belinda Vakarewa , Taylor Vlaeminck and Ellyse Perry running in and bowling fast and think why can’t I do that?
“Our pathways are strong now, our development programs are very good, we’ve got some great coaches in at those crucial ages to encourage them to bowl fast because a lot of the time our game can be counterintuitive in terms of promoting what we want.
“I’ve said a number of times that pace off the ball can very effective in both the men’s and the women’s game, but what we want to do is try and encourage that pace and sometimes short-term pain can be long-term gain because the bowlers will spray the ball, they’ll bowl the occasional wide but we need the captains to understand for their long-term development we need to back them and persevere because you don’t get many people who can come along and upset a game that’s just going on its natural course and a couple of those players at their best can do that – that’s what excites us.”
The hope is that both Brown and Vlaeminck will both reach the same speeds as Fitzpatrick.
If that happens, it’ll give Australia two bowling aces from either end that will terrorise batters for years.
Helping them work on their craft is one of Australia’s premier quicks this century, with Harris jumping on board.
Mott said that the Australian quick’s arrival had brought a positive energy and expertise to the group.
“Ryano’s been exceptional,” Mott said.
“I’ve had a bit to do with him over the last couple of years at the National Cricket Centre and he made a transition straight from playing to coaching and like any coach I think he’s taken a bit of time to find his way, but he’s fitted into this team exceptionally well and naturally the players are old enough to have seen him play in his glory.
“He’s enjoying his role, he’s worked with a number of the young quicks already and they’re loving his work.”
Australia will play New Zealand in three T20I’s before a three-match ODI series.