Mind over matter: the evolution of Grace Harris

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Grace Harris has been a big part of the WBBL over the years.

She was her first centurion in WBBL | 01, a season later she was the first great player to be poached by a rival club (and the first to return to her home home at the Heat a year later).

In the span of 42 balls at the Gabba in 2018, Harris became the fastest centurion in the WBBL.

The 28-year-old is the benchmark on the player’s microphone; the hard-hitting aggressor capable of sowing fear in the heart of any setting.

But for six seasons, Harris’s explosiveness was often tempered by inconsistency, an area she has actively worked on with coach Ashley Noffke in recent years, training to assess a match situation, rather than get fat just because she can.

These struggles to blend his power play with cricket intelligence were perhaps most evident during WBBL | 06, a season where Harris hit two brilliant half-centuries that promised a lot, but finished the tournament with by far his lowest strike rate in seven seasons.

“I think in the past she’s been caught between being a hitter or a hitter that can’t get out of first gear,” Noffke told cricket.com.au.

“I think she’s (balanced) exceptionally well this year. She’s improved a lot.

“I was very impressed with Gracie during the off-season, we had a really long discussion about what kind of player she wanted to be and how she wanted to play the game.”


Grace Harris with the bat through the seasons WBBL

WBBL | 01: Hostels 12 | Races: 289 | Avenue: 24.08 | RS: 154.54 | 100: 1 | 50 years: 0

WBBL | 02: Hostels 11 | Races: 127 | Average: 12.80 | RS: 122.11 | 100: 0 | 50 years: 0

WBBL | 03 *: Hostels: 4 | Races: 111 | Avenue: 37.00 | RS: 115.62 | 100: 0 | 50: 1

WBBL | 04: Hostels: 16 | Races: 374 | Average: 24.93 | SR: 148.41 | 100: 1 | 50: 1

WBBL | 05: Hostels: 16 | Races: 212 | Average: 17.88 | RS: 123.97 | 100: 0 | 50 years: 0

WBBL | 06: Hostels:14 | Races: 246 | Avenue: 22.36 | RS: 95.71 | 100: 0 | 50 years: 2

WBBL | 07: Hostels:13 | Courses: 403 | Avenue: 33.58 | RS: 128.34 | 100: 0 | 50 years: 4

* Missed most of the season due to knee surgery


Georgia Redmayne’s arrival at the Heat and her opening partnership with Harris was a big development; the ‘goaltender-combine usually scores faster than Harris on the power play, a factor that gives Harris plenty of time to get into his innings before catching up later with his expansive stroke play.

“Grace played some amazing shots for us and she played them at different levels, at different levels,” Noffke said.

“She controlled the game and was about to hit that power play from the back, but also playing some nice form and traditional cricket kicks on the back and front foot.

“His cut and draw was at a very high level.

“She worked really hard for it. She’s really committed to evolving her game until she thinks she can win games for the Heat and that’s what she wants to do.

“Basically it’s always about the team and what they can do to be better for the Heat, and it’s really good to see.”

It was Harris’s strength and ability to break through any fence that saw her included in the Australia squad in 2015 at the age of 22, but that raw talent took a long time to mature.

An untimely encounter with deep vein thrombosis killed her 2016 T20 World Cup dream when she couldn’t make it to India for the event. and she left the Australian organization later that same year.

Shortly after, another prodigiously talented off-spin all-rounder capable of breaking through the fence broke into the Australian squad: Ashleigh Gardner.

Australia currently has no shortage of spin-bowling allrounders; Jess Jonassen and Sophie Molineux joined Gardner, and even Georgia Wareham was quickly pleading for full status before her devastating knee injury last month.

This has made it impossible for many, including Harris, to return to the national team over the past three years, a period that has seen Australia claim two back-to-back T20 world titles and win an unprecedented 26 ODIs from sharp.

But Noffke believes Harris could still resume his career in the green and gold.

“If you asked each opposing team (how much) they want Grace out, (compared to) one of the other Aussie players, they’d say she’s just as dangerous, if not more so sometimes,” he said. declared.

“She is an exceptional all-rounder.

“But she definitely has a little more cricket (than before), she applies her beating skills better than she has ever done since I’ve known her.

“And I think she has more to come.”


WBBL Finals

The eliminator: Adelaide Strikers v Brisbane Heat | Adelaide Oval | November 24, 6:40 p.m. local (7:10 p.m. AEDT)

The challenger: Melbourne Renegades v TBC | Adelaide Oval | November 25, 6:40 p.m. local (7:10 p.m. AEDT)

The final: Perth Scorchers against to be confirmed | Optus Stadium | November 27 at 4:10 p.m. local (7:10 p.m. AEDT)

Grab your tickets or tune into Seven Network, Fox Cricket, Kayo, the CA Live app or listen on ABC radio


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