19/04/2024

Young Australian batter Phoebe Litchfield on ODI debut (Picture: Australian Women's Cricket Team/Twitter)

On Monday during the first ODI between Australia and Pakistan, 19-year-old Phoebe Litchfield was selected for a debut replacing star opening batter Alyssa Healy. After the first two ODIs, Litchfield has two unbeaten half-centuries to her name, becoming the only female to do so for Australia.

Receiving cap number 148 from fellow opening batter Beth Mooney, Phoebe Litchfield stunned the cricketing world on debut. Scoring 78 not out off 92 balls alongside Mooney, Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry, Litchfield had a dream debut picking up the player of the match honours in the rain-affected eight wicket win.

She followed up this effort with another sublime performance on Wednesday at Allan Border Field again where she missed out on player of the match honours to young tearaway bowler Darcie Brown, who picked up three wickets. She would not be disappointed however, pairing with Mooney again to notch up a 129-run partnership from 19.2 overs to seal victory.

Australian all-rounder Annabel Sutherland fronted the media on Thursday afternoon where she spoke in glowing terms about the young batter and how she is not only a very talented and natural cricketer, but extremely motivated to continue to perform.

“[Phoebe] doesn’t have an average yet,” Sutherland chuckled.

“She’s made it look pretty easy. She’s a very talented cricketer and a great person too, so she’s been a very good addition to the group and it’s great to see her doing really well.”

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When she was asked what the secret to the rise of Litchfield has been, Sutherland continues to give insight into her work ethic and positive mindset.

“She’s got a lot of talent with the bat but I think she works just as hard as anyone on her game,” she said.

“You can tell she’s super hard on herself, even with the innings she’s played the last two games, she’s always thinking about the shots that she can execute better and always wanting to improve. I guess that’s one of the traits that’s sort of got her to where she is today but I’m sure it will take her further too.”

Not getting to have a bat during the first two ODIs herself, Sutherland has been bowling well in the middle overs. She is surrounded by a plethora of sensational pace bowling options including Tahlia McGrath, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown and newly capped Kim Garth.

Being around what is arguably the bowling attack in the world has only helped Sutherland find her feet at international level given the experience of Perry and Schutt mainly.

“I think it was nice to get into a little bit of a rhythm with a couple of spells [these few games],” Sutherland said.

“When you come in behind a couple of star quicks with Darcie Brown and ‘Kimmy’ Garth up the other end who both started the game amazingly well and then coming [in] behind ‘Pez’ (Ellyse Perry) too, it’s a pretty good line-up to come in as the third or fourth change so i was happy that I could play a role and hold up and end.”

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In the last few years the 21-year-old has become one of the best young talents to come out of Australia. Playing consistently internationally as well as being injury-free has ensured a steep rise in the game for Sutherland who detailed how she continues to improve herself.

“I love working on my batting and have done a lot of work throughout the pre-season and sort of being building for a couple of years,” she said.

“I guess it’s a continual process [and] there’s always something to tinker with and work on. I just love hitting balls and finding ways to improve, whether it’s accessing different parts of the ground or working on my power and that sort of thing.

“It’s been cool to get some opportunities throughout the season and you never know, at the moment I’m not really required down the order a bit but you never know what will happen.”

Having won the first two ODIs against Pakistan, the Australian Women’s Cricket Team has also won the series with one ODI and three T20 internationals to be played. Sutherland describes the feeling around the group given the comprehensive wins and form of the current side.

“[The win on Wednesday] was pretty good, [we have] two wins on the board and just wrapped up a series win, it’s a pretty nice start to the series so the girls are pretty pumped and keen for the next one in Sydney.”

“I think we’re a team that is trying to continue to evolve, we’re I guess nit-picking at things we can continue to improve on and it’s a great opportunity for all the girls in this third game,” Sutherland said.

“We’ve seen a couple [of players] put their hands up like ‘Phebs’ opening the batting and doing pretty well up top but I know the rest of the batting line-up is pretty keen to get a hit.”

The third ODI against Pakistan will be played on Saturday at North Sydney Oval ahead of three T20 matches next week.

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