After being impacted by the merciless pandemic in 2020, women’s cricket much like other sports, is all set to return to full-swing. To add to the excitement, the Australian women’s team, the leading side in the international game, is all set to take on the domineering White Ferns.
And the biggest piece of that development is that yet another young and promising Aussie teenager is primed to make her international debut. In Maitlan Brown, one of Australia’s most promising domestic circuit all-round cricketers, the Lanning-led side has found a rising force in the national set-up.
The all-rounder played in the National Cricket League, WBBL, and also played for Australia-A recently.
But what do we know about Brown?
Hailing from a small town Wingham in New South Wales in the Mid-North Coast, Mailtan took a path less traveled, including several hurdles to reach the highest level in the sport.
Maitlan Brown took the Breakers Junior Talent pathway, which trains and organizes camps for the junior level cricketers under the New South Wales team. In her leap to the State team like NSW, the contracts exhausted before she could find her spot.
But there are some who do not think at all about heartbreaks and continue to persist.
The development may have read like a dead-end minus any alternatives. How? NSW had already featured a star-studded line-up boasting of experienced players.
It was hard for new players to find a spot. But there was a bigger roadblock ahead; Maitlan Brown didn’t also find a part in the season’s NSW Academy program.
That was when her friend stepped- in; a player herself in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) team.
What’s rather interesting is that at the heart of Maitlan Brown’s rise is a tale of support, if a reference can be called that. A friend referred Brown to the Selection-Panel, which was then, in search of a pacer. It was but a matter of time, albeit after a patient wait for the medium-pacer to rise to the scene.
Moreover, Brown even had to self-finance.
As she continued to play on a consistent basis with accuracy and exhibited the skill that later landed her with a Rookie Contract for the 2016-17 season.
The big development caught the eye of the famous Melbourne Renegades camp, and that is how Brown was birthed in the famous WBBL league.
For the past four seasons, Maitlan has been a key player for a franchise whose famous names are- Shabnim Ismail, Chamari Atapattu, and Dane Van Niekerk, to quote just some of the stars.
Here’s what really marked her as a talent with real potential. During her stint at WBBL and the ACT Meteors, Brown continued to toil hard and make her mark when a chance was given. It took her even more than three years to be selected in Australia –A squad from the domestic circuit.
But she kept at it, despite several hurdles.
Sticking to an accurate line and length and bowling economic spells, if a rate of 7.3 in WBBL can be called that, made all the difference for Maitlan Brown.
In the fifth season, the Aussie quick picked 16 wickets with an average of around 22. In December, in the unofficial ODI series against India-A, she went wicketless but her economy rate stood under 6-R.P.O. She also amassed 7 wickets in the women’s national cricket league in 2020 at an economy rate of 5.12 coming at an average of 25. Also considered a handy batter down the order, to Maitlan Brown’s credit, she is also a sharp fielder.
In her entire journey up to her selection to the National squad, the 23-year-old acknowledged that ACT Meteor’s Coach Jono Dean and fast bowling mentor Mick Delaney were instrumental in sharpening her tactical skills.
But despite all the effort, the real reckoning came when usual quick Tayla Vlaeminck failed to recover from the foot injury that had derailed her plan to participate in the Women’s T20 earlier this year.
Along with stars like Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt, it’ll be interesting to note how Maitlan Brown, can form a possibly formidable troika.
But to give a complete picture, it could be said, captain Meg Lanning will be spoilt for choices. Just consider the magnanimity of bowling resources at Australia’s disposal- Nicola Carey, Annabel Sutherland, Delissa Kimmince, Tahlia McGrath, Molineux, and Georgia Wareham.
Maitlan Brown will now join her Renegade teammates who are also the spin-trio: Georgia Wareham, Sophie Molineux, and Molly Strano in the upcoming series against the White Ferns– in what promises to be a mouth-watering return for the women’s game.
Some early prominence in this yet-to-be-held series will hold Brown in good stead of the mother of all sporting battles: the women’s ODI world cup, now scheduled for 2022.
Since the tournament is postponed by a year, Australia will play more tournaments than it was earlier scheduled, giving the fast bowler all chances to claim her next goal.