“I’ve improved my temperament and more my power game. I think I was a nurdler in my first few years, I’d glide it to third, a lot of runs behind the wicket. So I’ve worked on that, and then just temperament, like leaving the ball, I probably would’ve lashed at one first over, if it was the old me.”
In testing conditions as the ball nipped about at Allan Border Field, Litchfield was extremely composed, allowing plenty of time to see off the new ball before starting to accelerate in Lanning’s seasoned company.
Phoebe Litchfield completed her HSC during the WBBL in 2021.Credit:Ben Searcy
“She was one of my favourite players, her and Ellyse Perry,” Litchfield said of Lanning. “So to see them on the TV screen or as just an idea, to now playing with them is pretty surreal and a bit of a pinch-myself moment.
“[Lanning] is just the best batting partner. She knows exactly what to say when, and whenever I felt under pressure she either scored a four or came down the other end and gave me some words of advice.”
That counsel from Lanning added to the feeling of security and confidence Litchfield already exhibits when she takes the field. Given such enormous expectations – dating back to her entry into the NSW squad as a 16-year-old high school student in 2019 – there have been highly understandable moments of self-doubt.
But in a mirror of the feelings shared by Australian men’s captain Pat Cummins of his Australian debut as an 18-year-old in 2011, Litchfield spoke of how those nagging voices tend to disappear when she gets into the game.
“I try not to think too much about it, it probably comes on when I fail a bit more and I look back and go am I as good as everyone says I am,” she said. “But it’s just down to watching the ball. Once I go on the field it sort of goes away, which is nice.”
As far as the future is concerned, Litchfield is in no rush to stake a permanent claim to a spot in the team. She is aware that Alyssa Healy is out of this series with injury, and likewise that plenty of other cricketers are jostling for a berth. It’s a case of when, not if.
“With Alyssa Healy’s injury there’s a spot at the top of the order, and I put my hand up. But you look at ‘Midge’ and Mooney’s success and even Rach’s success and I’m not looking to disrupt that. I’m even happy to run drinks for a long time.
“I just love being around this group. If there’s an opportunity I’ll take it, but I’m pretty keen to see Midge back.”
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