Bush cricket the secret behind Georgia’s rapid rise

Getting hit by men in bush cricket has not broken teenage legspinner Georgia Wareham, instead it has given her the perseverance required to force her way into the Australian women’s T20 team.

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At 19, Wareham has been one of the surprises for Australia as she continues to hold her spot with experienced tweaker Jess Jonassen sitting on the sidelines in the Caribbean.

It’s Wareham’s temperament that made coach Matt Mott and senior Australian teammates take notice in the past six months after impressing in winter training.

On the fields of Mortlake 250km west of Melbourne, Wareham had little choice but to be that way as a 14-year-old.

“I grew up playing men’s cricket,” she said.

“It’s a bit different I always used to get smashed around every now and then. It doesn’t faze me that much knowing I’m always in the game whenever batters are going hard.

“In Mortlake which is three hours from Melbourne, there wasn’t that much women’s cricket around.

“That did a world of good for me playing with the men.” Wareham began her senior cricket in men’s division three when she was barely a high school student – the same age when most girls are funnelled into women’s-only grade cricket in the major cities.

Within two seasons she was playing in the women’s Big Bash League with the Renegades, but she still made time to play for Mortlake when she was home. Wareham has taken nine wickets in her first nine T20 internationals. It was her ability to keep tossing the ball up against New Zealand on Wednesday (AEDT), after being hit in her first over, that got Katey Martin stumped and began the White Ferns’ collapse.

It’s also kept her in the squad headed into the tournament’s finals, with the undefeated Australians already into the final four going into their last group game against India.

“She’s got a great temperament, she can deal really well with getting hit occasionally and comes back really well,” Mott said.

“Her style of bowling was really suited to us and she attacked the stumps a lot and beats both sides of the bat.

“She’s also one of the best fielders in the world and quick between the wickets. As an all-round T20 package she was pretty irresistible.”

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