13/04/2024

Tahlia McGrath and Australia want to win the Women's Ashes outright. (Image: @ICC/Twitter)

Despite retaining the women’s Ashes last night, Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath says the side’s mindset is set on winning the series outright ahead of the final two One Day matches of the multi-format series.

Despite retaining the Women’s Ashes last night, Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath ensures the side’s mindset is set on winning the series outright ahead of the final two One Day matches of the multi-format series.

The parallels between this current Australian team have been drawn back to when they were in a similar spot to the Australian team in the 2017/18 Women’s Ashes series, where they were able to retain the Ashes going into the last two matches. However, England was able to win those matches thus finishing the series tied.

McGrath was a part of the One Day and Test legs and was sent home after the Test match. Speaking to media before departing Canberra to Melbourne today, McGrath said that that series has been discussed among the current group and they want to ensure they win the series outright.

“We’ve spoken about it a little bit as a group, for that series [2017/18 Women’s Ashes], I wasn’t part of the T20 series, so I left after the Test match [and] wasn’t there for the end of it,” she said.

“A few of the girls have mentioned that retaining the Ashes doesn’t really sit as well with them as [it does] winning them outright, so that is certainly a big focus for us, and we’re certainly not satisfied.

“The celebrations were pretty subdued last night and we’re certainly keen to push on and win this series outright.”

The 26-year-old is currently Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the series and second overall in the series with seven wickets, four behind leading wicket-taker Katherine Brunt. Her figures for the series are seven wickets, at an average of 18.14 and an economy of 4.37.

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After making her debut for Australia in 2016, the South Australian suffered multiple back injuries. McGrath said there were times when coming back and bowling she would hold herself back, but she is now over the injuries and has full confidence in her body.

“I’ve got complete confidence in my body and my back at the moment, there was certainly a stage there over a period of two years I was constantly having back niggles and I think I was having scans about every month to check up on it,” the right-handed all-rounder said.

“There was a period where I was probably bowling within myself without really knowing it and [it] wasn’t really until Scott Prestwidge [Australia A assistant coach] sort of said to me ‘run in a bit harder, you got a lot left in you’ [and] I was like ‘oh actually I do’.

“It’s probably the last 18 months, I’ve had full confidence in my body and just been able to string some time together on the park and have really good pre-seasons. [I’m] enjoying my bowling so [I’m} happy where it’s at the moment.”

More Women’s Ashes News:

Women’s Ashes: Schutt back to her best after less than ideal preparation

Women’s Ashes: King’s cameo, Darcie’s day out help Australia retain the Ashes

Australia’s First Nations One-Day Shirt to debut today in Women’s Ashes clash

With two ODIs left to be played in Melbourne at the Junction Oval, McGrath said it’s nice to know they’ve retained the Ashes, but the two matches are still crucial, especially with the Women’s World Cup around the corner.

“It’s certainly nice to know we’ve certainly retained them [the Ashes] with just the two wins, but still, two big games to go and certainly as well leading into that World Cup,” she said.

“ODI prep is crucial and it’s a format that we love, so we are looking forward to every game, trying to win every game and it should be a really big two months coming up ahead. We’re really looking forward to it.”

With the World Cup being held straight after the Ashes series, and the uncertainty of COVID around Australia, if any player contracted the virus now it would rule them out of the tournament due to New Zealand’s quarantine requirements.

McGrath said there was anxiety amongst the playing group at the start of the tour, but that has since calmed down.

“I think there was definitely a bit of anxiety, especially around the start of the tour when we were certainly unknown and COVID was everywhere, but since we’ve been here…  protocols [have been] put in place that everyone is following really well,” she said.

“At the moment it’s just doing what we got to do, focusing on cricket and everyone is doing the right thing and fingers crossed we will all be on that plane to NZ. We’re all tracking that way and looking forward to a really good World Cup.”

Australia’s form in One Day Internationals is simply remarkable, until the third ODI against India at the start of this summer, Australia had won 26 games in a row.

This summer, Australia defeated India 2-1 in their ODI series and currently lead England 1-0. McGrath said she feels good about the team’s form is tracking leading into the World Cup.

“I think our depth is probably our biggest weapon, the fact a different person seems to be standing up every game for us and playing different roles at different times, it’s [a] really exciting place to be in,” she said.

“It’s a format that we love, and we’ve been tested a fair bit, in the India series and this Ashes series, [we’ve] been put under pressure a fair bit.

“We’re happy with the way we’re responding, happy with how we perform and how we cope under pressure. That’s all you can ask of us heading into a World Cup, is being put into those pressure situations and dealing with it very well.”

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