Avid gamer Georgia Wareham has left her console at home for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, so will have to amuse herself with pushing the buttons of batters with bamboozling leg-spin.
The 20-year-old – who has a trusty gaming buddy in Alyssa Healy – is one of the quieter characters in an Australia squad with a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts.
Wareham reckons a level-headed persona is the perfect profile for a bowler in the modern game, only ever one ball away from disappearing into the top tier.
“You have to be a bit mad to be a bowler, particularly in T20,” said the Victoria product.
“Eyes light up when batters see you give it some flight and they just tend to line us up a little bit more. I’ve been doing it for ages, so I’m kind of used to it!
“It can become very tactical, you have to try and keep it out of their hot zones, but sometimes you put it in the perfect area and it still goes for six.
“I’m definitely one of the quieter ones in the team, I tend to sit back, and I think as a bowler and particularly a spinner ,you have to be quite chill and on a level.
“As long as you’re resilient and you can come back from getting hit for boundaries, you’ll be in good stead.”
Nowhere does deploying spin hold higher risk and higher reward than Down Under.
Across women’s T20Is held in Australia, spin has a higher economy rate (6.53) than in any other country to have hosted more than 55 matches.
But the rewards can be handsome, with twirlers striking at a rate (19.6) lower than any other country apart from West Indies.
With England’s Sarah Glenn, Pakistan’s Syeda Aroob Shah and India’s Harleen Deol all pitched in for T20 World Cup debuts, that risk has clearly been judged as worth taking.
The fact that Sri Lanka are the only team to go into the World Cup without a specialist leg-spinner in their squad is further evidence head coaches are sticking by them.
Wareham adds: “It can be tough to bowl leg-spin but it’s been pretty big in T20.
“It seems most teams try to get a leggie into their team one way or another. It’s a point of difference.”
Breakout star Wareham, named Australia’s Young Player of the Year in 2019, is known for her accuracy and control and has taken 23 wickets from 22 T20I appearances.
Australia head coach Matthew Mott has an embarrassment of spin riches at his disposal, with the return of Sophie Molineux giving him four fine slow options to choose from.
Wareham missed out on four of six games in the recent tri-series with England and India – but true to her character, isn’t about to agitate.
“We look to Jess (Jonassen) to get us back into games with the ball and with Sophie and Ash (Gardner), there’s plenty to choose from,” she said.
“You’re not always going to be a hero.
“We all bowl in partnerships, with the pacers as well, we all work together. Some days some bowlers might be more attacking than others, and some of us have to take a back seat.
“We’ve played with each other enough to know that.”
The ICC World Cup takes place in Australia from 21 February to 8 March.