Olivia Porter, the 18-year-old allrounder, has been called up to the Sydney Thunder squad as a replacement for Nida Dar, who had to return to Pakistan to prepare for the team’s limited overs series against England next month. She described the selection as a “shock” admitting that a possible call-up was the last thing on her mind.
“I was shocked when I received the phone call, but this is a great opportunity,” said Porter, before heading to Canberra to join the squad for their match against Melbourne Stars at the Manuka Oval on Wednesday (November 27). “I’m really excited to be around such experienced players. I’ll be talking and watching them, and seeing their routines. I want to get some insights into how they prepare for big games.”
The 18-year-old has previously captained the Cricket Australia XI at the Under-18 championships and is highly regarded among the cricket community in New South Wales. The youngster took to cricket at the age of 10, when she filled in for her brother’s club team before taking up the sport more seriously.
Porter, who is captained by Alex Blackwell at Universities in the Women’s Premier Cricket competition, has been on Thunder’s radar for a while now. The sudden exit of Dar meant they took the opportunity to snaffle her up immediately instead of looking for an overseas replacement.
“Olivia is an exciting player who has been spoken about as a player who we should be looking at for the future,” Trevor Griffin, Thunder’s head coach, said. “This is a great opportunity to bring her in, to be around the team and experience the WBBL. It’s a great opportunity for myself and the other coaches to have a look at her.”
Griffin added that he believes Thunder is still in the hunt for a spot in the top four and that the squad has the ability to pull together and come out of the slump they are experiencing.
“We’re still in the competition. We could’ve looked overseas, but once you take everything in consideration, I back the players we have in the group to do the job.”
He admitted that while the loss to Adelaide Strikers in the Super Over was a hard pill to swallow, he was proud of the team and how they almost hunted down a target of 160.
“We did fantastically well to chase that score against the Strikers and put ourselves in a Super over,” he said. “It’s cruel to lose games that way, but what we saw with ‘Priesty’ [Rachel Priest] by the way she struck the ball at the top and then ‘Treno’ [Rachel Trenaman] coming in late in the innings to take the game to Strikers said a lot.
“Wednesday’s game against the Melbourne Stars is a really important match for us, and it won’t be an easy one. The Stars are coming off a strong win against the Renegades, but Sydney Thunder is focussed and ready to go.”