'Keep evolving': McGrath back on track after lean patch – cricket.com.au

India v Australia T20Is – Women
After a golden 12 months, Tahlia McGrath's form largely deserted her during the WBBL but is trusting the process in her new leadership role with the national team
Laura Jolly in Mumbai
7 December 2022, 09:51 AM AEST
Tahlia McGrath is embracing her new role as national vice-captain on Australia's T20 tour of India, as she looks to put injury and a batting slump behind her with a World Cup on the horizon.
Fresh off leading the Adelaide Strikers to their first Weber WBBL title, McGrath has been elevated to Australia's deputy leader for the five-game tour, supporting stand-in skipper Alyssa Healy in her first series at the helm of the world's top-ranked team.
For a golden 12 months, everything McGrath touched in national and domestic colours turned to gold; she hit 758 runs across all formats at an average of 54 and took 29 wickets as Australia claimed a one-day World Cup, the Ashes and a Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Her T20 form was particularly prolific, she hit 375 runs at a strike rate of 154 – no other Australian scored more runs or had a higher strike rate during that period – while her 12 wickets at 13.66 put her in the top three bowlers.
Returning home from The Hundred in early September, McGrath's domestic one-day season then started with a match-winning ton against Victoria.
But she was unable to carry that form into WBBL|08, scoring 244 runs in 14 innings – with 93 of those runs coming in one superb knock against the Hurricanes late in the regular season that was instrumental in securing Adelaide's spot in the top four.
A back injury midway through the WBBL season also sidelined the 26-year-old for two matches and restricted her from bowling until the finals, but she has since been cleared to bowl at regular loads in India.
"I had a dream run and it put me back into reality when I had that lull in form," McGrath told cricket.com.au in Mumbai on Tuesday.
"From my point of view, it's about sticking to my strengths, not going away from my processes, my routines, and hopefully that gets me back into another good run of form.
"Certainly, people are starting to look at me closer and work out my strengths and weaknesses.
"So for me, it's keep evolving, keep chipping away at my game and basically just wanting to be better every day.
"That's where it's at for me, and I'm pretty eager to get back to that run scoring and contributing to the team."
McGrath's form has seen her claim the No.4 spot in Australia's T20 batting order, and with Meg Lanning's continued absence from the game, she could step up a spot to first drop this series.
And wherever she slots into the line-up, she is set to play a crucial role in her team's hopes of defending their T20 title in South Africa in February – particularly if Lanning does not return.
"I'm happy wherever I bat – that's a cliched answer for you," McGrath said with a laugh.
"But top order is where I prefer to bat, three or four is ideal for me, so we'll see.
"With this batting line-up you could pick names out of a hat, really, so I'm happy wherever.
"But if I was to pick myself I'd want to be three or four."
While McGrath's teammates painted Adelaide blue for a week following their WBBL triumph over the Sydney Sixers, the allrounder was quickly forced to turn her attention to her new leadership role.
After two seasons at the helm of the Strikers and having held leadership roles at South Australia in recent years, McGrath has been steadily building her confidence in that department, helped by Australia legend Belinda Clark's leadership program.
"I'm very excited about that role, working closely alongside Midge and Shell – nothing too much changes for me, it's just taking some of the pressure off Midge and then being a bit more vocal amongst the group," McGrath said.
"(My leadership) has come a long way very quickly.
"I was the quiet, shy kid that barely spoke a word and I've come a long way.
"I can thank a few people for that, but probably the turning point was the mentor program with Belinda Clark, that made me come out of my shell and develop my leadership."
Australia's T20I tour of India 
Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland
December 9, D.Y. Patil Stadium, Mumbai (Dec 10, 12.30am AEDT) 
December 11, D.Y. Patil Stadium, Mumbai (Dec 12, 12.30am AEDT) 
December 14, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai (Dec 15, 12.30am AEDT) 
December 17, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai (Dec 18, 12.30am AEDT) 
December 20, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai (Dec 21, 12.30am AEDT) 
cricket.com.au is a production of CA Digital Media – a division of Cricket Australia.
© 2022 Cricket Australia.
All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment