At the tender age of 19, South Australian Darcie Brown is already a household name to fans of the global game.
Plying her trade for the Australian National Women’s Cricket Team, the South Australian Scorpions, and Adelaide Strikers, she’s had success follow her over the last year.
Having made her T20 international, One Day International, and her Test debuts for Australia last year, she has become one of the best and brightest young talents going around. After a big year and a half which included the Commonwealth Games, an Ashes Tour, and a WBBL title, Brown is soaking it all up.
She spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about how she is feeling about the year that was and what these big experiences were like.
“It’s been a pretty crazy last year or whatever,” Brown told The Inner Sanctum.
“It’s hard to put [how it feels] into words but to be a part of these successful teams you think of how lucky [you are]. Some people go through their careers not winning much, and obviously, I’m at the start of my career and who knows I might not win for the rest of my career but at the moment [I’m] just soaking it up.”
One of the highlights of playing for Australia in any format of cricket is the rivalry that is shared between the English and the Australian teams. Having played an Ashes series in Australia this year, Brown explains the experience and how she saw the match-up.
“[Playing in the Ashes] was pretty cool to be apart of, I mean I’ve obviously watched in the past but to actually be apart of it, it felt a lot more personal than I thought it would be. It was so surreal to be a part of and [it was] so special and [I was] just grateful to have had that opportunity,” she said.
“I didn’t know that many of the players [from England], I knew of them, obviously Katherine Brunt, [she’s] such a competitor and if she gets up and about, it doesn’t really annoy us but it makes us want to quieten her down a bit.
“I’m sure there are rivalries within it but through the whole collective there wasn’t a big rivalry.”
Being a part of the team that won the first-ever Women’s cricket T20 gold medal in the Birmingham Commonwealth games, Brown ticked off a bucket-list item. Without realising it, she had idolised the athletes that she rubbed shoulders with in the village from a young age but never thought she would join them.
Being involved in the wider Australian team that went to Birmingham, she describes the camaraderie built in the village.
“It’s pretty surreal, I’ve grown up idolising Commonwealth Games athletes and Olympic athletes so to be apart of that, it was so exciting,” Brown described.
“It was sort of crazy to think that you are a Commonwealth Games gold medallist for cricket, but hopefully we can go back another time in the next one and do it again. It was just so cool to be apart of that broader community and watching other sports, [we were staying] in the same hotel as the volleyballers and you’d say g’day and watch what they were up to as well.”
One highlight that was a standout for Brown was the WBBL championship she won with the Adelaide Strikers this year. Having been in the top few teams all season, last year’s runners-up did one better to send off veteran wicket-keeper Tegan McPharlin.
Brown explains that farewelling McPharlin with the title was the main motivation spurring the team on, which made the success all the more sweeter.
“It meant so much [to us], you could obviously see that in the celebrations. [It was] Tegan McPharlin’s last game as well, it was really special. The ‘Scorps’ lost the final in the WNCL in ‘Midge’s’ last WNCL game so to cap that off for her was so cool to be apart of it and it meant a lot.”
Having some key international signings ahead of WBBL|08, the Strikers have brought over talent from other sides to bolster their list over the last few years. Katie Mack, Maddie Penna and Jemma Barsby have been recruited from other sides to join South African rising star Laura Wolvaardt and West Indian all-rounder Deandra Dottin.
Brown speaks about how adding role players and proven talent to their list has played dividends in topping up the squad that already included local stars Brown, Megan Schutt, Tahlia McGrath, Bridget Patterson and Amanda-Jade Wellington.
“I guess [they’ve each brought] something a little bit different because most of us spend our pre-seasons and whatnot together for the ‘Scorps’. They are a breath of fresh air and they’ve fitted into the team really well, I couldn’t really ask for any better people to come in and be apart of our squad,” Brown said.
Being more consistent in her bowling as a result of more experience and more growth, Brown speaks about how she’s feeling about being able to contribute more to team performances.
“The back end of my WBBL [season], I didn’t really do too much to be honest but I was just happy to be apart of the team and do everything I could even if I wasn’t getting wickets to try and help the team get the win.”
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Amongst the local talent it has been Australian star swing bowler Megan Schutt that has really taken Brown under her wing as a young cricketer in the South Australian set-up. When asked about her influence and about someone who’s helped her along the way, Brown speaks about how Schutt has dealt with the mentoring role.
“As a fellow South Australian, she’s helped me a lot and she’s sort of made me become a little bit more assertive I guess. I’m pretty laid-back, I’m not too fussed about too much but she’s obviously tried to hurry me up when making decisions but that’s sort of helped me grow as a person too, I guess not be a pushover but explain how I’m feeling throughout trainings as well,” she said.
“She’s been a great help with my bowling as well, she’s made me be more brave, I guess same with ‘T-Mac’ (Tahlia McGrath), she’s been the captain this year and she’s asked me ‘can you be more brave for me here?’ so they’ve both been great and helped me enjoy my cricket.”
Having had a monumental year in Australian colours, another South Australian that has helped mentor Brown is Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath. Asking Brown about how she’s seen McGrath’s rise in the international game, she explains that she’s a calming influence which helps her to step up.
“We don’t really talk that much cricket, her and I but we hang out 24/7 when we are on tour and stuff like that, she’s sort of helped me keep calm and just take everything as it comes,” Brown said.
“She was in some fine form then the Big Bash happened so she’s stepped up in the big moments, which is what we needed and it doesn’t matter at the end of the day, we won the tournament and so she was probably due to have a bad game because she didn’t have one for about 18 months to be honest but I’m sure she’s now due for a big spell of games put together.”
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