Wingham cricketer Maitlan Brown has nominated the Sydney Sixers as the team to beat for major honours in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) starting this weekend.
Brown, 20, a bowling all-rounder, will be entering her second season in the league, again with the Melbourne Renegades. The Renegades start their campaign against Sydney Thunder at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, December 9 with the game to be shown live on Network Ten.
The Sixers dominated the league last year and Brown agreed their star-studded lineup will again take plenty of beating. Brown said there’s been a fair bit of player movement in the off-season and believes the league will lift to an even higher level in 2017/18 with more media exposure and bigger crowds.
However, she’s confident the Renegades will continue to improve. The Melbourne combination finished second last in 2016/17, although that was better than the effort in the inaugural WBBL.
“We’re recruited really well,’’ she said.
The Renegades have fielded a predominately young team in the opening two years of the league. However, Brown pointed out they’ve picked up a couple of experienced players for this season.
“We’re going to have more depth, especially in our batting,’’ she explained.
“We’ve got the Sri Lankan international Chamari Atapattu and she can really hit a ball. Jess Duffin has come across from the Melbourne Stars.’’
Brown’s preparation for the season hasn’t been smooth. At one stage she feared a stress fracture in her leg, caused, she said, from ‘overloading,’ would sideline her for the summer and has kept out out of the Women’s National Cricket League, where she plays with the ACT Meteors.
It also ended her hopes of pushing for a place in the Australian team for the Ashes series against England. This is the first major injury Brown has sustained and she admits it was frustrating.
While she couldn’t bowl she’s been busy in the gym and assures her fitness levels are fine. Brown has also spent plenty of time in the nets honing her batting skills. She wants to be classed as an allrounder.
“In this day and age you have to be an allrounder,’’ Brown explained.
Despite the injury setback Brown is sure she can make her presence felt in the WBBL this summer.
“Last season was a learning curve for me,’’ she said.
“I’ll have a bit more confidence now.’’
Earlier this year she toured Sri Lanka with an Australian under 21 side and before the injury she was involved in an Australian development camp in Brisbane.
She hopes performances in the WBBL will help put a case to selectors to be included in the Australian side next year. She understands there’s a tour of India. Brown will also have commitments with the Meteors once the WBBL is over to help advance her cause.
Brown will also mix cricket with university studies.
“It’s going to be busy,’’ she smiled.
“I’m looking forward to it – and I can’t wait until Saturday.’’