Women’s cricket top 25: Meet Aussie rising star Darcie Brown

She’s the most exciting female prospect in the country, but the rapid rise in Darcie Brown’s cricket journey wouldn’t have been possible without hot chips, gravy and a healthy dash of jealousy.

The brilliant teenager is coming off her maiden WBBL campaign, a summer in which the fast-bowing all-rounder announced herself to the domestic game with devastating performances for the Adelaide Strikers and an eye-catching 3-13 on debut against Hobart, ushering in a new era of Australian pace stars.

But the first bricks of the foundation from which her international career will be launched were laid in Kapunda, an old mining town near the Barossa Valley of around 3000 people.

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It was there as a young teen, on a typical Saturday, Brown would rock up to netball games with knees covered in dirt after rushing across from an early morning game of Aussie rules.

A quick shower would follow – to wash the dirt off the knees – before she’d dominate her age group on the netball court, then swing back to the footy oval to run the water for the senior teams.

In between, the youngster would wolf down generous helpings of hot chips and gravy.

And for dessert?

Brown fires down a delivery in the WNCL for South Australia.Source:Getty Images

“I’d go back over to the netball and play some seniors,” she told the Adelaide Advertiser.

Brown’s thirst for sport from a young age – “since birth I’d go out to the netty court with mum and footy oval with dad” – instilled a competitive drive which carried her to representative teams in cricket, netball and Aussie rules as a teen.

So how did cricket get the edge? A classic case of sibling FOMO.

When older brothers Joey and Kallum, who along with dad Rod took over the family lawn with games of backyard cricket, were shopping for new kit bags a young Darcie was furious.

She wanted one too.

“But you don’t even play cricket,” countered mum Kerry, who also played first grade women’s cricket as well as netball.

“Well … I will!” said young Darcie.

And so the next year she had cricket gear of her own, and Australia’s next cricket star was well on her way – albeit while still splitting her time between a handful of sports.

Truth be told, the tug of war between netball and cricket over Brown’s services is ongoing, and she admits she’ll need to make a decision soon over which path she follows.

Brown had expected to be playing netball by this point in the year, rather than navigating her way through a first international experience with the senior team.

Brown enjoyed a breakout WBBL campaign with the Strikers.Source:Getty Images

“It’s a pretty tough choice. I’m still in the middle of making it,” she said.

“I’m just seeing where things go for both, just taking the opportunities when I can and just being clear in communication with the coaches and stuff like that.

“I think very soon I’ll have to make a choice.

“I get along really well with my netball coaches back home and (when I told them about the Australia tour) she was like ‘we know you’re not just sitting on the couch doing nothing’.”

This month, Brown is just a bubbly 18-year-old soaking up her first call-up to the national team – and desperate for a debut in the white-ball series against New Zealand, which is made up of three T20s and three ODIs.

That prospect alone should excite Australian fans. She’s arguably the most promising fast bowler in the country and has the potential to earn the title of world’s quickest woman in the coming years – though she faces stiff competition from fellow youngster Tayla Vlaeminck for that honour.

Bowling fast has always come naturally to Brown.

While even now Brown feels she bowls the occasional “powder puff”, as a 13-year-old she was already pushing the speed gun to 100km/h – “I wasn’t very quick … but I suppose it a bit quicker to a few girls my age”.

Cricket: Australia won their T20 Women’s World Cup clash against India by 85 runs in front of over 86,000 people at the MCG….

Cricket: Australia won their T20 Women’s World Cup clash against India by 85 runs in front of over 86,000 people at the MCG.

Within two years she had added another 15km/h on the speedgun, and during the Big Bash sent one down at a sizzling 125km/h.

The fastest recorded delivery by a woman is South African Shabnim Ismail’s 128km/h rocket, a mark which is well within Brown’s reach.

“We’ve been introducing new gym programs and exercises and slightly going up in weights in the gym but not very much. Hopefully I get a bit stronger and hopefully speed comes with that as well,” she said.

But does Brown want to be the fastest?

“Not really. It’d just be good to get into the Aussie team, that would probably be a bit cooler (than being known as the quickest in the world),” she said.

Originally published asThe South Aussie launching on to cricket’s world stage

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