Phoebe Litchfield scored her 2nd ODI century against India on Tuesday night and, in the process, broke numerous long-standing records.
At just 20 years of age, Litchfield has already represented Australia in all forms of international cricket and has been impressive in most outings. She brought up her hundred off only 109 deliveries and shared in a dominant opening stand of 189 runs with captain Alyssa Healy to put Australia in a strong position early in the contest.
Her knock finished on 119, which helped the Aussies to 7/338 in the third and final ODI, with a series victory already secured. They then went on to bowl India out for just 148 to gain the series sweep, where Litchfield also played a part, taking a diving catch in the field.
In the process, the left-handed prodigy became the youngest Australian female cricketer to make six scores of 50+ in ODI cricket while also passing Meg Lanning for the most runs scored in a three-match ODI series.
After getting her first taste of test cricket in June 2023 against England, Litchfield got another opportunity in a one-off test match against India recently. Unfortunately, things went far from as planned in that match, with Litchfield being unluckily run out without facing a ball in the first innings and then contributing 18 in Australia’s 2nd innings while opening the batting.
Litchfield said it had been a whirlwind the previous 12 months, and the challenge of playing in India has been a great experience and a really good developmental opportunity for her cricket.
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“It’s been a challenge to put it blankly, I think the Ashes was a really big learning curve for me and then to score runs in Ireland was enjoyable, but I think Indian conditions is a whole different beast and it’s a really good challenge,” she said.
“To be over here for the test match in India the first time, it was an awesome experience and one I’ll never forget.”
The 20-year-old burst onto the scene in 2019 when she made her WBBL debut for the Sydney Thunder at just 16 years of age. She made 26 on debut and looked an imposing prospect for the future.
After building her craft over the next few years, she was given an opportunity for Australia in late 2022 for the T20 side, before making both her ODI and Test the following year.
She is highly regarded as one of the best young talents in world cricket, and it’s not hard to see why. In her five T20 internationals, Litchfield averages almost 50 runs per innings while also scoring two hundreds from her 14 ODI games at an impressive average of over 60.
Approaching the century, Litchfield said she felt nervous and knew she needed to capitalise on the opportunity, with wickets falling around her.
“It took me a long time to get to the hundred, it was nerve-racking to say the least and the wickets falling around me was a bit stressful, but I just stayed really calm. I probably scored each run-in singles [approaching the 100] so just wanted to get there and make the most of that big partnership,” she said.
She also took a brilliant catch in the victory which proved important. The left-hander said catches like that are difficult to train for, but that it felt good, nonetheless.
“I think the one today was probably more of a reflex catch, I was like oh, all of a sudden it was in my hands. Probably in the context of the game it was pretty up there [in terms of importance]. In terms of training, it’s hard to train that because people sort of hit catches to you but at the end of the day [it’s about] just watching the ball,” she said.
Litchfield, who hails from Orange in New South Wales, looks destined to be a brilliant international player of the now and the future and certainly has all the tools to become one of Australia’s greatest cricketers.