At the end of each WBBL season, there is no higher accolade than being named in the WBBL team of the tournament.
Last year’s team was star-studded and included the WBBL05 player of the tournament, Sophie Devine, who had an incredible season for the Adelaide Strikers, scoring 699 runs at 77.66 and taking 16 wickets at 20.25.
But 2020 has been a wacky year and while players are still aspiring to make the team of the tournament, there’s a new accolade in town: village mayor of the WBBL hub.
And rumour has it that one of the central issues of the campaign will be whether the village mayor can get their hands on a canine for the hub.
“Hopefully whoever gets elected can do something about a village canine,” said Sydney Sixers all-rounder Lisa Griffith.
“My vote is for Molly Strano. She adds a funny twist and will certainly spice things up in the village.
“But everyone should be careful because the WBBL will soon be taking over the world with our village mayor. Village domination one day, the world next.”
But moving into a village to compete in the tournament isn’t the only change that Griffith has experienced this year, with the all-rounder making the decision to join the Sydney Sixers for WBBL06.
After several successful seasons with the Sydney Thunder, it was the competitive nature at the Sixers that enticed Griffith.
“I really love what the Sixers are about,” said Griffith.
“One of their values in how they play their cricket is quite attacking and that is what drew me in.
“It’s an element of my game that I have been lacking, that attacking style and that confidence when I play my cricket and so I wanted to come across and develop those strategies in my game.”
As a fast bowler, the opportunity to work with Sixers coach Ben Sawyer was also too good to pass up. Sawyer not only coaches at the Sydney Sixers and is an assistant coach at the NSW Breakers, but over time has also become a specialist fast bowling coach for the Australian women’s cricket team.
Sawyer has the view that fast bowling is the next big opportunity in the women’s game and that the next generation of fast bowlers will balance out the dominance of the batters in the women’s game.
At the moment there are only a couple of players in the WBBL that are able to bowl faster than 120 kilometres an hour with Lea Tahuhu, Shabnim Ismail and Tayla Vlaeminck some of the fastest in the women’s game. But this may change in the next couple of years with proper coaching, particularly considering the likes of 17-year-old Stella Campbell has clocked 119 kilometres per hour.
While Griffith acknowledges that at the moment the women cannot bowl as fast as the men, there are variations in the way women bowl that make the game exciting. Additionally, given the extra specialist coaching for fast bowlers, it is also an opportunity for women to learn and become better cricketers.
“It is so refreshing to be part of this new aspect of the women’s game, where we are almost proving to people that we can bowl fast,” said Griffith.
“Obviously we aren’t hitting the speeds the men do, but we can bowl really well, bowl fast and be athletic.
“People like Benny are behind this and wanting to help us develop athletically so we can bowl faster and make the product even more exciting.”
Griffith is also looking to her new teammates to help her develop additional confidence in her game.
“When I came across to the Sixers I wanted to adopt that attacking brand of cricket, and my own unique way of doing that is to trust in my own abilities,” said Griffith.
“That’s something I have struggled with over the last few years, just trusting my ability on the park and at training and just enjoying it.”
Given the Sixers are one of the most talented teams in the competition, there is no shortage of players that can help in this regard including Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner and Erin Burns.
In fact, Healy has already shared some words of wisdom.
“You have seen the rise of Alyssa in the last two years and what an amazing player she has become, but she has spoken about how she has also found it hard to trust in her own ability,” said Griffith.
“But when she had the trust of her coaches and her teammates, that was liberating for her.
“So I have the feeling that I have come across to a team that really have faith in my ability and are really vocal about it. It has been super liberating for me to be able to go out on the park and if my teammates can see it I should be able to as well.”
And if all else fails?
“Fake it until you make it.”