Jemimah Rodrigues is a weapon: Laura Kimmince
Despite having a game that seems perfectly suited to the format, Laura Kimmince wasn’t on anyone’s roster when The Hundred was first announced. But the withdrawal of fellow Australian stars like Alyssa Healy meant, she received a call up to represent Northern Superchargers in the tournament.
A quiet person by nature, Kimmince wasn’t sure how the experience would turn out, but once she joined the side all her apprehensions went out the door and she has settled in nicely among the group. The Superchargers have started the competition well, staying undefeated after playing four matches so far.
“I was a little bit iffy about it early on. I can be a quiet person at times but I think all the girls have been super welcoming and (are) sort of going out of their way to get us involved in everything,” Kimmince told Women’s CricZone. “As an outsider, I couldn’t have come into a much better group.”
It’s not just the team that was new, but the format also took some getting used to for the 30-year-old and her new teammates. But a couple of games into the tournament, the big-hitting Kimmince found her way and started feeling at home with everything else around the competition.
“I really like it (the format). As someone that’s more of a hitter than a [batter], it’s sort of a game more suited to my style of play. The first game was a bit frantic, getting used to the rules and everything,” Kimmince said.
“I think you’ve got a little bit more time than what you think is happening. The first game or so we were probably a little bit panicked. Everyone felt like there was a lot happening compared to what we were used to. But once we’ve played a couple, it’s not too different. It’s just another game of cricket, really.”
“It definitely has more fan engagement than a lot of the longer format competitions. I think everyone’s getting on board and just enjoying the atmosphere that little bit extra.”
Back home in Australia, Kimmince plays a key role for Brisbane Heat in the WBBL as the designated finisher/basher and has been instrumental in their twin triumphs in WBBL04 and WBBL05.
“I like the gameplay and (this) format as a batter. You just want to go out and score as many runs still in a relatively quick time-frame.”
“It’s probably a little more bowler specific,” she says of the difference between the leagues. “It’s probably more set up that spin is a bit more of a winner than pace over here especially. (But) from playing both, they both are as entertaining.”
Kimmince didn’t get to bat in the first game but was in her element in the second match where she smashed England leg-spinner Sarah Glenn for five boundaries in a set during her knock of 31 from just 13 balls. Her batting has evolved drastically over the years from the inception of the WBBL. In the last season, she improved upon an already impressive 157.02 strike rate from WBBL06 to strike at a whopping rate of 205.81.
“I got to keep a few things a secret,” Kimmince chuckled while talking about her evolution as a batter. “I got two ‘back those’ shots – one of them is the cover drive and one of them is up over the keeper off bouncers. Keep it in and getting through those first balls is a massive thing. Then, I feel like, I am off and away. Otherwise, you are just expanding on the base, it’s about finding new pockets and ways to score.”
Jemimah Rodrigues has been the star of the show for Superchargers having scored 166 runs at a strike rate of 176.59 – the most by any batter in the tournament so far – from the three completed matches. Kimmince, who watched from the dugout as the 20-year-old struck a match-winning 92 not out off just 43 balls in the opening game, shared an enterprising 25-ball 64-run partnership with the India batter in the second game against Trent Rockets.
“She’s a weapon and she can hit a ball,” Kimmince said, effusive in her praise of Rodrigues. “I sort of have not really been around the team or seen her play too much but have only heard good things. Then watching her play the first game, she is someone you can watch bat all day.”
“She looks very quiet from the sideline but once you get out there, she’s just a ball of fun and looks like she’s having a great time and enjoying herself which is how I think you win games.”
Pitches in England have been a touch slow for Kimmince’s liking but as she has settled down with the team, as a person and a player, she has started enjoying the experience of The Hundred and the things that have been part of it.
“It’s very slow for sure, it took me a couple of days to get going. You definitely don’t get the carry through like you do at home. But it makes me wait for the ball just that bit longer,” she said.
“It has been a great experience, the crowds here are unbelievable. I think the crowds here are unbelievable compared to a lot of what we get to see at home and the amount of involvement in the game that they will get. I was pretty stoked to be playing in front of that many people, along with all of the girls.”
The Superchargers are currently behind table toppers Southern Brave on points with three wins and one washout. Kimmince believes the squad has got a good mix and she aspires to win the competition with her new mates.
“We have a very good group. A lot of the girls in this group, if they stick together, will be successful for a lot of years going forward. It’s like everyone is as important as each other,” Kimmince added.
“I think for us, it’s just about hanging in together. I guess the word adaptability gets chucked out there a bit. It’s a game that changes so much in such a short amount of time that we keep going, roll with the punches and we will do really well.”
Once the Hundred is done, Kimmince wants to take that experience back to home and try to reprise it with Heat when the seventh season of WBBL commences. After all, it’s not just about doing well for yourself but taking your teammates with you.
“Aspirations for the Big Bash probably (are) just to keep building on the last season – go one better, get to the final, but also just keep building that environment where everyone gets better at the same time, not just yourself or the couple around you,” Kimmince concluded.