Grace Harris celebrating. ©Getty Images
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Matthew Mott, the coach of Southern Stars has revealed the players that caught his eye by their superb WBBL performances.

Before the 2020 World Cup, Australia are looking to get most out of their packed international calendar starting with an ODI series against New Zealand next month, an away Ashes tour, a tour of the Caribbean and a home series against Sri Lanka.

Keeping this in mind, few players have made sure that they are in the national team contention by performing consistently in the record breaking season of WBBL04.

Wanting to add depth to the squad as well as to cover for players carrying injuries, coach Matthew Mott has revealed to cricket.com.au some of the players outside the Australian contract list who have impressed him the most.

Perth Scorchers all-rounder Heather Graham was prolific with the ball as took 22 wickets at 16.95. Mott said, “Heather’s done a great job, her batting we’ve seen evolve a lot and she had a great preseason with the National Performance Squad so she’s closely monitored.”

He added “She’s probably got to find her way into the team as a genuine allrounder, but we love what she brings with the ball, she brings change of pace and sets good fields for herself and is a good fielder too.

“Probably more in the short-term she’d be considered for the T20 team than one-day cricket, but there’s a lot of T20 cricket coming up and if she keeps performing she’ll be in and around.

Another player that caught his eye is Brisbane Heat’s Sammy-Jo Johnson who had a tremendous season as she picked up 19 wickets at 17.73 and scored 256 runs at the impressive strike rate of 140.65. Speaking about Johnson, Mott said, “Sammy-Jo has done well as well, she went away with the Australia A team last year and continued to impress.

“She’s just a wholehearted competitor and those are the sorts of traits we like, she’s really hungry to do well and has been given an opportunity up the top of the order with the Heat and has really seemed to seize it.”

Hobart Hurricanes’ pace bowler Erin Fazackerley’s season was hampered by injuries as she could bowl only 16 overs in the season. However she enjoyed her stint at the top of the order as she delivered some exciting performances. Particularly her innings of 38 in 16 deliveries in the first match and 52 from 41 deliveries in the final match impressed the coach Matthew Mott as he said, “Fazackerley has made a bit of a name for herself and surprised a few people going out and batting with a pretty free spirit,”.

“She’s so athletic as a fast bowler, she’s someone who’s not that long into cricket really but has a good package that would be interesting and she has the potential to bowl quite quick.

Johnson’s teammate Grace Harris who last represent the Southern Stars in 2016, delivered consistent performances with her batting and off-spin. She picked 13 wickets along with 373 runs in which includes a record fastest century. Although Harris surprised Mott with her consistency, he feels she’s facing a huge completion to earn a comeback. He said, “Grace Harris is another one who’s probably surprised a few.

“She looks in career-best from and we just need that to continue.

“She is in an unfortunate space where we do have a lot of competition from spin bowling allrounders (with Ashleigh Gardner, Sophie Molineux and Jess Jonassen holding Australian contracts) but she’s a very good cricketer, Grace, and we’ve always got an eye on her.”

Prior to the WT20I, Australia travelled to Malaysia for three ODIs and T20Is against Pakistan as they took 14 member squad. Jess Jonassen who had to withdraw from the squad due to injury has delivered consistent performance for the Brisbane Heat is expected to make the squad. However the selectors have to make tough decisions as they will have to announce a squad of 13 players for the upcoming series against the White Ferns. From the squad that had previously travelled Tayla Vlaeminck, Elyse Villani, who are recovering from injuries, while opener Nicole Bolton missed the end of the WBBL regular season for the Scorchers due to personal reasons.

Mott concluded by saying “There’s still a chance for players to put their hand up. The selection panel is getting together at the (WBBL) final to have some preliminary discussions.“Our one day and T20 teams are pretty similar at the moment and that’s not to say there won’t be others considered from outside (that group) but we’re also comfortable with that squad we took away (to Malaysia and the T20 World Cup) as a 15, it’s pretty clear they’re our best 15 at the moment and we’ve got to cut down that group so there’ll be some tough decisions to be made there.”

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