Photo Credit: Brisbane Heat
As the WBBL Brisbane Heat strive to secure a Weber Women’s Big Bash League Finals berth clash against the Sydney Thunder tomorrow, one of the club’s genuine match winners is ready to come to roll up her sleeves and get cracking after being named in the squad. LAURA HARRIS is raring to get into some T20 action to cap off a memorable year.
If ever big hitting Brisbane Heat star Laura Harris needs grounding from the bright life and partying of the Caribbean Premier League, she need look no further than the Logan Emergency ward.
Harris, who shapes as a potentially match-winning inclusion in the final days of the tournament after recovering from a frustrating calf injury, has made her name as a swashbuckling batter, but she also carves out a living as an emergency nurse during her time away from cricket.
Regarded as one of the Big Bash’s most dangerous hitters, Harris has enjoyed touring away in England and the Caribbean, but says there is nothing quite like home.
“I was in The Hundred, then I had a couple of weeks in the CPL which was a different experience,” she said.
“It is always interesting when you go to different cultures to see how they view the game, it is more of a party there.
“They are very relaxed to everything in life, which is a nice way to be sometimes, it is the polar opposite when it comes to coaching styles because we are quite regimented at home, it’s different being told to just go out and express yourself.
“There were only three teams in (the Caribbean Premier League), you verse the other teams twice, so there were only four games, then it is the top two teams in the final which we ended up winning, it was great.
“There’s nothing like your home tournament, when you go into those teams as the international there is the personal pressure to perform as opposed to being part of a group that you know and train with every day for eight months.”
A talented sportswoman in her school days, Harris, 33, decided to follow her passion in health care, which led her to nursing, before eventually juggling the rigours of professional cricket.
“I’m in Emergency at Logan Hospital, it is a different world in there,” she said.
“It has been about three months since my last shift, but I am due back before the Big Bash, so I am sure they will give me a bit of a ribbing because it is six or seven shifts before I take more holidays to play in the Big Bash.
“It is nice to go back, I do enjoy it to get back what feels like normal life, touring life is fantasy land.
“It is shift work, so it has not always been the best lead up to games.
“This year will be the first year I have taken time off work, I normally work for the first three weeks then take the rest of the Big Bash off.
“I did play cricket in high school, we did like to think we took it seriously but looking back it was just hit and giggle.
“I always wanted to go to university and by year 11 I knew I wanted to be in a health care role, so I went through all of that and stopped playing cricket.
“I was playing soccer and someone found out I played cricket in the past, so I got wrangled into one of the local club teams when I was about 24.
“I scored a few runs and then I got asked to come and train, it has all gone from there.”
Also the older sister to Australian star Grace, Harris has a simple mindset when it comes to the Weber Women’s Big Bash League.
“Strike rate over everything for me, I don’t really care to hit it down the ground for a single, that is boring cricket to me,” she said.
“My goal for last year was a 200 strike rate, scoring 50’s for the Heat and 100’s in WNCL.
“It is a great balance of players between hitting, rotating and bowling options, you’re hard pressed not to be an all-rounder in cricket nowadays.”
Harris was today included in the Brisbane squad for their vital Weber Women’s Big Bash League with the Sydney Thunder tomorrow afternoon at the Adelaide Oval.
The powerful right-hander boasts the highest career strike rate in the Heat squad (scoring at 158) and hammered an 18-ball half century last season in the WBBL.
She comes into the squad in place of fellow batter Ellie Johnston.
After losing their past three games, a victory for the Heat over the third-placed Thunder would see them finish in the final four ahead of the Finals which start on Tuesday with the Eliminator between the third and fourth placed teams.
Defending champions Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers are vying for the right to finish on top and earn automatic qualification to host the Final next Saturday.
Tomorrow’s match is a double-header and the first in the Stadium Series of the WBBL, which will feature the final regular season round games played at the Adelaide Oval, Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground.
Brisbane Heat v Sydney Thunder
Tomorrow, Adelaide Oval
2.40pm Qld time
21. Jess Jonassen (c)
22. Mignon Du Preez (Int)
5. Lucy Hamilton
44. Nicola Hancock
17. Grace Harris
4. Laura Harris
25. Bess Heath (Int)
14. Mikayla Hinkley
48. Amelia Kerr (Int)
88. Charli Knott
8. Georgia Redmayne
37. Courtney Sippel
13. Georgia Voll
Broadcast live on Channel 7 and Foxtel, streamed live on Kayo and covered on ABC radio.