Tasmania’s WNCL coach Salliann Briggs believes the upcoming appearances of fellow Englishwoman Alex Hartley will help fill a considerable gap in her side’s arsenal.
The Lancashire and England left-arm spinner has been able to don Tigers colours after missing out on selection in England’s World T20 side, and will be more than a handy replacement for Celeste Raack, who is representing Ireland in the same tournament.
Hartley has taken taken 34 wickets in 23 ODI matches at an average of 23.47 and was part of the winning 2017 World Cup team.
“She is obviously very disappointed to be left out of the England world cup squad and I think we have got her at a great time as she will be fired up as there are some competitions she wants to be playing again internationally,’’ Briggs said on Wednesday ahead of the matches against Queensland (on Friday) and South Australia (on Saturday) at Hobart’s TCA Ground.
“But she wants to just come over and be better and learn and experience a different environment that she knows is going to contribute her to becoming a better player.
“It is great for us knowing that we have a left arm spinner as they are incredibly valuable in women’s cricket in this type of format, so it gives us some options early on and in the middle phases for us to build some pressure, so we are really looking forward to seeing what she brings. Sometimes we’ve failed a little bit to put pressure on with our bowling and now we have Alex, I think that adds a new element to our game.”
Skipper Brooke Hepburn said the work under new coach Briggs in the pre-season was starting to pay dividends.
“Queensland are always a tough opposition, and obviously they won’t have a couple of Australian players who won’t be here this round, but they’ve still got a wealth of talent in their line-up and Kirby Short, their captain, has been in terrific form,’’ she said.
“The conversations we’ve had as a bowling unit is that we just want to stick with what we have been doing well and that is just bowling really tight and attacking from both ends.
“The addition of Alex Hartley into our mix is going to be really good for our bowing group. I’d say we are in a really good place at the moment, as getting that first win over the ACT gave us confidence as the work we have been doing really paid off in that match.”
Sasha Moloney faces a fitness test on her shoulder, with Ashley Day a chance to make her debut.