Photo Credit: Adelaide Strikers
The saying goes that good things come in threes, and if that is indeed true, then Weber WBBL|07 appears destined to enjoy front row seats to the Tahlia McGrath show.
A wildly talented allrounder, McGrath is elite in all three facets of the game, with wickets, runs and stunning efforts in the field all part of a day’s work. In recent weeks, she has also received two player of the match awards on the international stage, culminating in a player of the series nod to conclude the historic Australia v India matchup.
Today, the right-handed top order batter and opening bowler has been named captain for Adelaide Strikers charge towards a maiden WBBL title, and even the most conservative observer would be confident that the 25-year-old is set to receive several more accolades across the coming summer months.
Cricketers generally wait until the sun is in full force to stamp their name on the season, but such is McGrath’s ability and work ethic, she has done it beneath ominous clouds and between rain delays while proudly displaying the national crest upon her golden uniform.
With the Strikers season-opening clash rapidly approaching, McGrath has had a brief chance to reflect on the past month, as well as to look ahead at the exciting opportunity to lead a talented group diligently preparing a challenge for glory.
‘I am a proud South Australian and I love representing the Strikers, so I am honoured and privileged to be leading the team this year.
‘We’ve had some special leaders at the club, and I have learnt a lot playing alongside them. Beepa [Lauren Ebsary], Midgy [Tegan McPharlin], Batsey [Suzie Bates] and Shooter [Megan Schutt] have all done an outstanding job and I’m lucky that two of them will be alongside me this year so that I can lean on their experience as well.
‘While I have the title of captain, I have so much support in the team that I can utilise, plus [Assistant Coach] Charlotte Edwards on the sideline; I will be picking her brains a fair bit and just learning as much as I can about leadership.’
McGrath enters WBBL|07 as one of the most in-form players in the country, with recent match-winning scores of 44*, 42* and 74 at international level combined with bowling figures of 3/45 and 4/46 to have the explosive allrounder ready to burst onto the domestic T20 scene.
Speaking of the recent series against India, something that is yet to fully sink in, McGrath can’t help but smile as she recalls her stunning performances.
‘It was an incredible tour to be a part of. It was a really good spectacle for women’s cricket and I loved being a part of it, I loved contributing to the team. It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. I’ve had a big preseason working on a few things, so it was nice to see that come off.
‘I pinch myself a lot. It’s pretty incredible, the opportunities that cricket provides you. I’m just loving cricket at the moment. Whether it’s in a blue Strikers shirt, Scorpions shirt or Australian shirt, I count myself pretty lucky to be doing what I’m doing. Just riding the wave at the moment, and I’m loving it.’
After narrowly missing finals last season, McGrath has sights set on lofty goals for a maiden season bearing the captain’s armband.
‘One of the best things about our squad is that we’re so versatile, so balanced. Our batting order is a tough one; it’s a good problem to have when you aren’t sure who to bat where because we bat so deep. That gives batters so much confidence going out to the crease knowing that we can play with freedom. So hopefully watch out for some big scores from the Strikers!
‘Leading into the competition with the squad we’ve got, we’re really confident in what we can deliver so really looking forward to kicking off, and quietly confident that we’ve got the squad to do it this year.’
The Strikers begin their campaign against reigning champions Sydney Thunder, and McGrath wouldn’t have it any other way.
‘It’ll be a really good test to see where we are at. Every side on paper looks incredible, so starting off with the Thunder will be a challenge, but it’s one we’ll be up for and hopefully we start off our campaign in winning style.’