After being the Player of the Series in the Multi-Format Series between Australia and India, Tahlia McGrath has taken her scintillating form to the WBBL|07.
The most in-form cricketer in Australia at the moment, The Strikers’ skipper has dominated in her side’s opening two matches and credits a range of helpers for her consistent brilliance so far this summer.
Having smacked scores of 42 and 50 not out after a golden run with the bat in the Southern Stars’ middle order, McGrath finally feels like she’s matured as a batter.
“It’s a tough one to pinpoint, it’s something I’ve shown glimpses of over the past season but haven’t been consistent enough, which was frustrating for me,” she said.
“I’ve matured a lot as a batter and learnt how to construct my innings a lot better, especially in T20 cricket, where I focus on keeping it as simple as possible, playing to my strengths, and not overcomplicating things.”
McGrath admits that “confidence is a huge thing” after being able to string together a run of great knocks. She also seems to be a player who relishes the pressure, whether it be coming in at clutch situations in the Australian middle-order or captaining the Strikers in the WBBL. Adelaide recruit Dane van Niekerk is a key reason for McGrath feeling comfortable as a first-time captain, with the South African veteran providing great support to the young leader.
“Dane is really good in meetings and analysing to make plans, she’s got such a smart cricket brain and is someone I want to pick her brains a fair bit going forward because I can see myself learning so much off her,” McGrath said.
“I jumped at the opportunity to be captain when it came, I’m still adjusting to the extra bowling meetings and extra responsibilities but I’m loving it, the added responsibilities keep me in check.”
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The other main off-field fuel for McGrath’s amazing run of form is employing mindfulness techniques on-field. With the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) bringing in mindset coach David Steventon from Port Adelaide Football Club to teach mental approaches to the game, McGrath is one cricketer who has flourished from these lessons.
It’s a resource that the young all-rounder encourages all players to embrace in order to get the best out of themselves.
“It was something that was quite new to me, cricket’s such a mental game that I thought why not tap into that aspect of it,” McGrath said.
“Initially I was a bit hesitant, but it’s been refreshing to look at the game of cricket in that way. It gives us a real advantage and it’s something lots of sportspeople should tap into.”
Now at the helm of a Strikers’ unit that has recorded two wins from their opening matches, McGrath has credited the franchise’s emphasis on immaculate bowling and fielding efforts as a key reason behind their initial victories. It’s areas that has the all-rounder buoyant about Adelaide’s chances at winning the WBBL|07 crown this summer.
“We pride ourselves on our fielding, and the first two games have been outstanding – it really helps the bowlers when your fielders back you up,” she said.
“It’s been a strength of the Strikers for the last few years and it makes my job a lot easier, we’re confident with our variety we can attack and take lots of wickets.”
“There’s going to be a lot of travel coming up for us, so to get those early wins is crucial to keep that momentum going forward.”
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