Just in case Phoebe Litchfield had been at risk of getting carried away by the hype surrounding her dream introduction to ODI cricket, a phone call from her best mate this week quickly brought her back to earth.
Litchfield has been the talk of the cricketing world since producing one of the more memorable debuts of recent times, hitting 78no and 67no in her first two one-day innings for Australia against Pakistan in Brisbane.
Unsurprisingly, the 19-year-old’s phone has been blowing up with messages from friends, family, old kindergarten teachers, past junior teammates – you name it, they have been in touch to share their congratulations.
That is, with one notable exception.
“One of my best mates, he rang me the other day after my debut,” Litchfield told The Scoop podcast on Friday.
Assuming it was going to be another message of congratulations, she eagerly answered.
“I pick up the phone and he’s like, ‘hey, can I borrow your car?’
“So I’m like, ‘oh… yeah, sure…’
“He’s like, ‘thank you so much, because mine’s run out of fuel’ and then he just hung up.
“That pulled me down to earth.”
Litchfield still coming to grips with ‘pretty cool start’
A laughing Litchfield confirmed he had later texted his congratulations after seeing the news.
Litchfield’s twin innings in Brisbane were beyond even her wildest dreams; even when named in Australia’s one-day squad, she had expected Meg Lanning to fill injured Alyssa Healy’s spot at the top of the order.
She revealed she got the good news from Shelley Nitschke when she arrived at training on the eve of the first ODI, and quickly reassessed her plans for the net session ahead.
“I reckon I batted for like two hours, it was so stupid,” she said.
“I had a little hand niggle and they’d (said) just don’t bat for too long.
“And as soon as she told me, I was like, ‘okay, I gotta get ready’.
“I wasn’t expecting it, I thought like Meg would open and then everyone just would shift up.
“So I spent way too long in the nets, but I guess it paid off.”
Litchfield creates history with another unbeaten fifty
Litchfield knows she can’t remain without an average indefinitely, but for now, she is just keen to keep riding the rollercoaster that has been the start to her Australian career.
Look back over the past two months, Litchfield still ranks making her T20I debut in front of 47,000 people in India last month as the highlight of a whirlwind period.
“Scoring runs (in this series) has been a highlight, but also, I think the India tour was probably the best thing and debuting over there,” she said.
“I didn’t think I’d be picked on that tour so to go over, sit on the first-class flight, that was just ridiculous … and just the experience over there with all the fans and yeah, playing in front of that crowd was ridiculous.”
Litchfield marks unforgettable first game with fifty
Saturday’s game will be Litchfield’s last in the green and gold – for now – after she missed selection in the squad for the T20 leg of the Pakistan series and the upcoming World Cup in South Africa.
However Litchfield said her expectations had been in check when it came to those tours, given the returns of Lanning and Healy, and she is eagerly looking forward to returning to New South Wales colours for a pair of one-day domestic games to be played in her hometown of Orange.
There, she will have a chance to further stake her claims on a berth in Australia’s next tour after the World Cup, the mid-year multi-format Ashes series in the United Kingdom.
“I was expecting (to miss out) with Meg and Midge (Alyssa Healy) coming back into the side,” she told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
“And I’m not too fazed by it … I know that top order is amazing and there’s no way I’ll be playing in that before any of them.
“It would have been an awesome opportunity, but I get to go out and play in Orange for WNCL, which is really exciting.”
Litchfield had her mum Catherine and grandmother Elizabeth in the crowd in Brisbane, the family ranks will swell to include her father Andrew for Saturday’s game at North Sydney Oval, alongside friends from university.
The game is Australia’s first at the boutique Sydney ground since their T20I series against Sri Lanka in 2019, and their first game in the NSW capital since the 2020 T20 World Cup semi-final at the SCG.
Australia are looking to seal a series sweep after sealing a 2-0 lead with Wednesday’s 10-wicket win.
CommBank ODI Series
Monday Jan 16: Australia won by eight wickets (DLS method)
Wednesday Jan 18: Australia won by 10 wickets
Saturday Jan 21: North Sydney Oval, 11:05am AEDT
Buy #AUSvPAK ODI tickets here
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland
Pakistan ODI squad: Bismah Maroof (c), Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz, Tuba Hassan