Experienced quick bowler Megan Schutt will return to the Adelaide Strikers line-up today, after missing her first WBBL games in history as her side has a strong start to their season in Tasmania.
Talking to media on Friday evening, Schutt said now baby Rylee is healthy and settled at home with herself and partner Jess, she is eager to get back out there and play cricket with her best mates this weekend.
“I knew I was going to miss it, but watching the games on TV was very strange and I must say I didn’t like it at all,” she said.
“So, I was itching to get back… because when I had my first training session with them (Strikers), there was only four other girls, the rest were all quarantining in Hobart – it was really weird, it didn’t feel right.”
Schutt had not missed a game in the Adelaide Strikers history, however, after the premature birth of her daughter Rylee, she opted to stay home from the Hobart Hub and be with her wife, Jess, and their newborn.
After an extended period in hospital, Megan and Jess returned home with Rylee earlier in the month, and even leaving now for the weekend in Perth feels “a bit strange” for Schutt.
“At the end of the day obviously I knew I’d made the right decision to stay at home and look after Rylee. So, it’s been fulfilling,” she said.
“I’m extremely sleep deprived… but it’s so worth it.”
Reuniting with the Strikers squad
To prepare for her return to the game this weekend, Schutt has played club cricket for Sturt this month, the club she has called home for 15 years. While she hopes there is no footage of last weekend’s match, as “it wasn’t the classiest of opposition”, playing with State and Sturt teammates has been fun.
“Sometimes club cricket can be a bit of a drag, but at the end of the day, it’s cricket, it’s experience and I needed some of that, coming into this,” she said.
After spending the start of the season in Hobart, the Strikers women returned to Adelaide on Sunday, following their loss to the Brisbane Heat, to regroup and get ready for this weekend’s trip to Perth.
It was the first time the whole group had been together, with Schutt, this season.
“It was so nice (to be back with the girls),” she said.
“I’ve been training with the at-home Scorps (SA Scorpions) girls, which is wonderful, but it’s quite a small group and we’d mixed in with some of the younger girls as well, so it was a very different environment.
“So, to kind of come to a more elite environment with some of the girls that I’ve not seen in so long, especially with border closures, was really exciting.
“And obviously some of those people have been my best friends for a very long time and yeah, to just be able to run around in the blue again has been really nice.”
Watching the game from home on TV was challenging for Schutt – she’d prefer to be out there with the ball in hand – but she’s been impressed by how the team has started WBBL|07.
“I think we have a lot of depth with both bat and ball.
“I don’t know, I look at our list and I kind of feel rude at the thought of me coming in, because someone has to come out who probably doesn’t deserve it.
“We’ve shown consistency with the ball, we’ve always been strong with that, but now we’re showing our firepower with the bat.
“Obviously the inclusion of people like Dane (van Nierkerk) and Laura (Wolvaardt), taking the game on harder, earlier, and then Tahlia (McGrath) being in the form of her life, I just think it’s one hell of a line-up and it’s been really exciting to watch.”
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A ‘blockbuster’ weekend
This weekend’s WBBL fixture features eight matches played across two states, with four teams in Tasmania and four in Western Australia.
The Adelaide Strikers will play back-to-back matches at Lilac Hill Park in Perth, first up today they play the Perth Scorchers at 1:50pm AWST. On Sunday, the side returns to play the Melbourne Renegades.
Schutt, who was not expected to join the team for this trip West, is eager to get back into cricket and joked she’d be “winging it” out there on the field this weekend.
“I’ve played cricket for long enough that I’m just going to get back into the swing of things, I’m just hoping that natural gut takes over and what I’ve been doing for the last eight years professionally of my life, will kick in and I’m just going to enjoy it, to be honest,” she said.
“It feels like I’ve missed a lot of cricket, so to just be able to get out there and play cricket again is going to be really exciting.
“Obviously, there’s a few new faces in the team and seeing how the girls have been going, yeah, it’s just really exciting for me.
“Two ripper teams to be playing against as well, it’ll be a blockbuster weekend.”
Looking ahead to this afternoon’s match against the in-form Perth Scorchers, Schutt is keen to get stuck into ex-teammate Sophie Devine, who is in form after scoring 101 runs from 60 balls on Sunday against the Thunder.
“I’m going to give Sophie (Devine) a bit of chat, that’s for sure. I still think she looks better in blue, her in orange just doesn’t sit right with me,” she said.
“Watching her the other night obviously she was pretty explosive, so she’ll be a key early wicket there.
“But I think Beth Mooney’s a key player, who has been the anchor of their innings for so long now, so she’ll be a crucial wicket as well.”
As for the Lilac Hill Park pitch, Schutt just hopes she can find a bit of swing out there.
“I haven’t played at Lilac in a long time, so I can’t really remember what that pitch is going to bring, hopefully there will be a little bit of swing in the air for me.”
The Adelaide Strikers play the Perth Scorchers today at Lilac Hill Park, Perth at 4:50pm AEDT.