04/03/2024

Tahlia McGrath was instrumental in Australia's miraculous win with both bat and ball. (Image: ICC/Twitter)

Tahlia McGrath's greater focus on the mental side of cricket has helped her return to the heights of her best play in the national team.

Australian star all-rounder Tahlia McGrath has found focusing on the mental side of cricket the key to her recent success.

Something had to change in order to get back into the national team, which eventually amalgamated in a Player of the Series performance in the Women’s Ashes series.

“It’s really been a journey, I had a taste of international cricket pretty early then found myself on the outer for quite a while, quite quickly after that it was a long journey to get back into the Aussie side,” McGrath told media.

McGrath made her debut in Australian colours in November 2016 at the age of 21 against South Africa in an ODI. This was quickly followed a year later by a baggy green cap, presented to her on the eve of the 2017 Ashes Test.

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It took considerably longer for McGrath to make her T20 debut, which took place during the 2021 series against India.

The form she had shown for her state in the WNCL and WBBL for the Scorpions and Strikers became too good to ignore, which helped her cement her side in the Australian A consistently for the last few years.

“I was lucky that… Cricket Australia had the Aus A program put in place, I was still around the mark and I was able to travel to places like England, India, Sri Lanka and just chip away at my game,” she explained.

“Getting back into the Aussie team, I felt ready, I felt confident and just really fortunate to string a few games together and contribute to some team success.

“Cricket is such a mental, challenging and taxing game. When we are on the road for extensive periods of time, I really enjoy checking in with Dave (psychologist) in SA, he just keeps everything so simple for me.

“It’s just an aspect of the game that I’ve really tapped into and that’s found some success for me so I’ll continue with that. It was certainly a challenging time with the COVID protocols and the bits and pieces going on.”

A feature of McGrath’s bowling this series has been her yorker delivery. This has been utilised on many occasions to bring about a wicket when needed most.

When the English were struggling to score runs at the beginning of their innings on Tuesday, McGrath did what she has done time after time, and bowled a stunning yorker to remove England’s captain Heather Knight.

“I have been working on the yorker a fair bit, and it’s been a success this tour, so it’s been a good change up to have and it’s a hard ball to bowl so I hope they keep coming out alright,” McGrath said.

Her ability to pull out a clutch delivery for her team to remove a wicket has made her an invaluable player for her side going forward.

But when it comes to what’s next in McGrath’s career, she’s got the World Cup firmly in her sights.

“I am stoked, I have never to a World Cup before… I’ve been a standby player for about three,” she said.

“This is the tournament I’ve been eyeing off for quite a while, and I cannot wait to get on that plane over to New Zealand and really get stuck into it.

“It’s a nice feeling to walk out to the crease or have the ball in hand at the moment with a lot of confidence.”

The Australian national women’s cricket team starts its ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup campaign against an England at Seddon Park in Hamilton on March 5.

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