18-year old South Australian cricketer, Darcie Brown is on the fast-track to cricketing stardom, but is keeping grounded during the unpredictability of the pandemic.
In the last twelve months, Darcie Brown has become one of the most exciting young cricketers to watch at every level of the game. Brown was just 17 when she debuted in WBBL 06 but her outstanding pace from her deadly right-arm caused the competition’s best batters to quiver, and saw her take out the Rebel Young Gun award for the tournament’s best player aged under 21.
Earlier this year, Brown made her T20 International and ODI debut in Australia’s tour of New Zealand and impressed teammates and selectors on the pitch—she’s been named again in the Australian squad for the upcoming series against India—and off the pitch as Megan Schutt highlighted in her T20I cap presentation to Brown. ‘The kid from Kapunda’ as Schutt calls her, “once finished an entire Macca’s family box by herself purely because we said she wouldn’t be able to”. Impressive.
For Brown right now, it’s all about keeping focused on her love of the game and continuing building on her early success while not getting too far ahead of herself.
“I try not to set too many goals towards myself just to make sure I actually enjoy playing cricket, because that’s always the best time, when you actually are enjoying it. So, I’m just happy to do whatever as long as I’m enjoying it. That’s basically all I can ask from myself.”
One thing she is looking forward to is the possibility of playing test cricket, and with two upcoming tests on the schedule. It’s this growth in the women’s game that adds to her passion for playing the sport she loves.
“It’s really cool. I’m sure everyone’s really excited and so am I. I feel like I haven’t really even seen women playing a test match, because I was probably a lot younger when they last played a test. But yeah, it’s really exciting because I used to come watch men play in Adelaide, so for the girls to have two tests in the next six months, it is really exciting for women’s cricket.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a shot at it but yeah, who knows. I haven’t played [a test], I don’t think I’ve played more than one day, except playing with the boys in a two-dayer but that stretched over two weeks! So yeah, hopefully I can get a shot there.”
Brown is currently in Adelaide training with the South Australian Scorpions getting ready for the upcoming WNCL season. It’s a difficult space to be in right now, preparing for a season that’s just around the corner, and an international series, with so much uncertainty around COVID-19 driving states and hotspots into lockdowns. But like all athletes, Brown and her teammates have adjusted to the ‘be adaptable’ mindset they need to keep themselves going.
“[We’re] just learning how to adapt a lot easier because it’s an ever changing world at the moment. So if something does change, not to kick up a stink about it basically, and just move on. And we’re actually a lot luckier here in Australia than we are in some other countries at the moment. Or even just in SA. So we’re learning how to adapt easy and we’re also grateful for what we’ve got at the moment.
“It’s just taking one day at a time because you know, it changes so quickly. Like, all of a sudden in SA we were in lockdown, and then a week later, we’re out and haven’t had any cases really since. So, I suppose it changes quite a bit. And I guess we’re quite lucky in cricket to be able to have so many people working behind the scenes to get stuff organised and change plans so quickly.”
For someone who likes to focus more on their own game rather than set too many goals, the pandemic might actually be the perfect environment for Brown to be able to do that. To allow her pure enjoyment of cricket and take each day as it comes because live sport right now is so precarious and precious, and can so easily be taken away.
It is actually bizarre to think that indeed, for Brown’s career so far, playing in a pandemic is unfortunately the norm.
“I don’t think I’ve played in front of that many fans. As you know, my first season was only last year and fans weren’t really able to come anyway, So I’m sort of used to not having people there watching live. Compared to the other girls’ experiences, it’s a bit different.”
Brown is grateful just to get onto the park at this stage, as most cricket fans will be as the WNCL, series against India and WBBL start dates all draw closer. But, for Brown and other young women picking up the bat, or ball, or taking to any sport this summer, hopefully it will soon be safe to get fans back into the stands to show rising star athletes like the kid from Kapunda the support they deserve.