Blog: Linsey Smith reflects on Big Bash experience

I have to say, I loved every minute of my time with the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash.

Clearly, it was disappointing that we couldn’t manage to get ourselves into the semi-finals or a final, especially following the performance of the girls last year in reaching the final.

But I came out to Australia with not many expectations to begin with. I thought, ‘I’ll throw myself into the deep end, give it my best shot, enjoy it and see what happens’.

Thankfully, I was able to put in some good performances for the team and meet some amazing people along the way.

I finished with six wickets in 11 games, but an economy rate of 5.8 runs per over.

You want to be taking more wickets. And, selfishly, that’s a worry that I had halfway through the competition.

I spoke to our captain Meg Lanning about it and said, ‘I’m not feeling great with not taking many wickets’. But her and the bowling coach both reassured me that I was doing a great job for the team.

Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. Yes you want to take wickets, but if you’re doing a job for the team then that’s what matters most.

Meg’s amazing to play for. Her knowledge, dedication and professionalism is second to none. To be able to learn from her, the Australian captain, as to how she goes about things in a hectic comp when things are going well and aren’t going well was brilliant. As I said, though, all the team were amazing.

To be able to get in amongst a new environment and learn how they go about things was huge for me.

It wasn’t just skill wise where my game developed, it was tactically as well. In England, you generally know all of your opponents. Here, it’s been different. That has definitely helped me progress, exploring different ways to go about matches and different opposition.

I was absolutely delighted to hear that I’d been voted as the Diamonds Players’ Player of the Year last weekend. It meant a lot to me, and coming from a players’ vote is particularly special.

The team is something I always try and give the most I can to, making sure everyone’s alright and that I’m up and about.

I like to try and be a senior figure in this team. So, as I say, to get that vote was very special.

One of the other winners on the night was Sterre Kalis, who got the Fans’ vote for Player of the Year.

Sterre has been great for us. For a couple of years now, she’s been our leading run-scorer and has brought a lot to our team. She’s also been awarded a contract now, which is fantastic for her.

She definitely wants to work hard and progress her game, and she will continue to be a key player for us moving forwards.

She’s been a key player for the Netherlands as well for a number of years now, so it was great to see her continuing that with runs at the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, which were unfortunately cancelled at the weekend due to Covid.

As a player the Dutch look to, I guess you could say the pressures on Sterre were fairly similar to being an overseas player in the Big Bash. But that was something I didn’t really want to focus on when I joined the Stars.

Coming to the Big Bash was something I didn’t think would happen given I wasn’t playing for England. But when it did, I made sure I didn’t look at the bigger picture and focused on just enjoying the chance.

I know that when I don’t put too much pressure on myself, I play my best cricket.

In the last game I played, the ball got hit back at me and I dislocated a finger on my bowling hand. The physio put it back in straightaway and I carried on. But I had to go for a scan last week, which has unfortunately showed a fracture and ruled me out for four weeks, and I’ve been fitted with a splint.

I was due to travel to Oman with the England squad for a training camp over the next couple of weeks. But my dream season has come to a bit of bad ending, which is a shame.

I was delighted to be chosen for that camp, and it’s gutting not to be able to make it through injury following probably one of the best seasons I’ve ever had.

I was really looking forward to it, but some things you can’t control.

The hunger is still there for me to get in and amongst that England squad again, and I’ll be doing everything I can to get fit as quick as I can. Hopefully something like that will come around in the near future.

It wasn’t that long ago that I wanted to hang up the boots.

I’d got into a pretty rough place with it all and wasn’t enjoying the pressures I was putting on myself. I had a negative impact on my cricket, and I got into a bit of a rut where I wasn’t enjoying anything to do with it.

To turn it around to the stage where I’m loving every minute now has been brilliant.

It came not long after the run of England games I first played (2018/19).

As soon as you get picked, you put all the pressures on yourself to do well and perform. But that didn’t help me at all.

It all came from myself being such a perfectionist. But I did a bit of work with a psychologist and it’s done the job.

I definitely feel in a better place to deal with those pressures should, hopefully, I get back to that level.

Having done a lot of work with Dani Hazell in the winter, my action also feels in a lot better place - it feels a lot more comfortable and repeatable and has really helped me develop my game.

England is definitely something I want to push back into, but we’ll see. I’ll just keep enjoying what I’m doing and see where that takes me.

I’m due to land back home in the coming days having had a week off following the end of the Big Bash.

I spent the first half of the week in Sydney, catching up with some mates, and am spending the second half of it in Melbourne with some of the Stars girls.

It’s been great to have a bit of downtime after a busy year.


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