By Phoebe Graham
After middle practice with the Northern Superchargers at the weekend, I’m more than excited for the new Hundred competition.
Bowling 10 balls back-to-back feels a lot, but when you get a couple of wickets and you’re in your flow, this is definitely one of the new rules which could be to the advantage of the bowlers.
I’d taken three wickets in my first five balls, so I just wanted to keep going. If you’re not happy to bowl 10 at that stage, I’m not sure when you ever will!
The next five went ok, and I picked up another wicket.
I definitely feel my bowling has improved this summer, my first as a professional with the Diamonds.
I’m just loving bowling at the minute and seem to have found my rhythm.
I’m running in harder, bowling the ball faster and am very clear with my plans. That clarity is something which is really coming through in my bowling, and hopefully I can take that into the next few weeks.
The Hundred has the potential to be an even more batter dominated game. With 20 balls less than T20, there seems to be a bit more freedom in the mindset of the batters.
But, as bowlers, you just have to see it is a great opportunity.
It’s going to be about being one step ahead of the batters as much as you can.
I think there will be a lot more tactical play from a bowling perspective, and you are likely to see bowlers mix things up a lot more - field placings and variations. I have a couple of different things up my sleeve.
I’m so excited for this competition.
I think it’s what cricket needs to bring it into the 21st century and attract new audiences.
It’s also about putting women on an equal platform so young kids have role models to look up to.
The big thing with it is about changing the perception of the women’s game. The fact it’s being broadcast to the nation on BBC and Sky is fantastic and will hopefully get more girls playing the game.
You’ve seen it work so well in the Big Bash in Australia, where they get the crowds and there are over 120 female professionals. Their game is booming.
Hopefully the Hundred paves the way for that to happen and more contracts to come in over here.
The ECB have shown with the home World Cups in 2017 and 2019 that they can host events. Now it’s about us playing our best cricket.
Is playing in this competition the biggest moment of my career?
Well, I view it slightly differently in that it just feels like this year in its entirety is the biggest moment.
Starting out with the Diamonds as a professional player and now playing in the Hundred. I’m keen to look forward to, and take, every opportunity that this year presents.
Going back to the Superchargers training at the weekend, there were certainly some huge switch hits for six going on from Laura Harris (Kimmince is her married name).
I’m not sure whether it’s her proper nickname, but I’ve taken to calling her Larris. Let’s hope I can get it to stick!
The Hundred being played means a break from regional action with the Diamonds, and we’ve certainly got an awesome opportunity having got ourselves in a great position in both competitions for when things start up again next month.
What is really great is that the Diamonds have a winning mentality at the moment, and we seem to be learning from every single game. It’s been a great environment to be in.
Bowling wise, we are a really strong unit who have nailed our plans. Batting wise, we’re learning and getting there. We definitely have the capability to crack on.
We’ve not fully peaked as a unit. But that’s exciting. There’s still so much each individual can give during the second half of the season.
The catch Sarah Taylor took off me against Storm at Taunton last weekend was an absolute cracker.
It’s been great to have her behind the stumps to learn from, and it will be nice to see her again this Saturday when she plays for the Welsh Fire against the Superchargers to start the Hundred at Emerald Headingley.
All the girls love playing there, and there’s no better place at which to start a new competition.