Sport

Cricketer Grace Harris on smashing boundaries and her love of ice-cream. By Richard Cooke.
Credit: GETTY IMAGES / CRICKET AUSTRALIA

Hitting it hard: Grace Harris, 23, cricketer

Missing the World Cup [due to a deep vein thrombosis] came down to a bit of an insurance policy issue, over injury. If I’d been hit by a ball in the wrong area, I could have ended up in some trouble. So I ended up not going. 

I was put on blood thinners for a while. And I couldn’t play any cricket while I was on them. Couldn’t train or participate. I’ve basically just started again.

My favourite shot to play? Probably a six straight over the bowler’s head. Cover drives aren’t too bad. I’ve just never really been good at them. I’ve got more of a stand-and-deliver style. Pick up the ball and swing as hard as I can, and hope that it goes to the boundary.

So scoring 150 off 70 balls… It was alright. That was at club cricket. It was just my day, I guess – everything went my way. And the pitch had already been played on, so I got a bit of insider knowledge before we went out about how it was playing. And then I just went from there. But I didn’t really think too much about that. I just knew that it was going to be lower than a brand-new deck, and it wasn’t going to do as much off the seam.

It wasn’t working for a while there. I’ve been trying to be a less risky player, but if I go back to my stand-and-deliver then it seems to pay off. So I probably need to change back.

I suppose I’d love to be a person who actually had great technique. But being a clubber is not that bad. I’m obviously not really going to be a strong kind of technical batter. I’m just simply a strong person. So however I get it to the boundary is however I get it there, as long as I get it there. That’s all I care about.

I bowl right-arm off-spin. The reason I started was because they came into the batters’ net in an under-age competition, and we had absolutely no spin bowlers selected for the team. They were all medium pace. So they came over to the batters’ net and asked, “Does anyone want to try spin bowling?” And I just put my hand up and said I’d have a crack. 

Turned out I was a pretty good ripper of the ball. I was a big turner at under-age stuff. I just never really landed it in the right area. I’ll get there. With more training and stuff. I’ve landed them more consistently lately, so that’s good.

I don’t have a doosra. I’ve got a top spinner basically. So one that just doesn’t turn. And then I have a big turner, so where I really rip the ball hard to get it sideways. I guess my regular is just a bit of turn and bounce.

I’m not sure anyone has a doosra anymore. Unless it hits a rock. Unless it’s the side of the pitch or something comes back, that’s about the only way I’m going to get a wrong ’un, to come out, or a doosra. 

I like bowling. Especially when you have a really poor game batting. You have something else to offer. If you go for a golden duck and you’re an opening batter, it’s a long day in the field. Whereas if you’re a bowler, you get a chance to get a couple of wickets, or just go for as little amount of runs as possible. On the days when you go for runs and you get no runs, then you say, “Well, I don’t know why I play this game.”

Who do I admire? Somebody who bombs it, I guess. I don’t mind Glenn Maxwell because I understand where he comes from. You can manipulate the field. You can hit boundaries where other people can’t. And you’re learning. I don’t mind learning new shots, too, instead of just the same boring cover drive.

I’d love to be able to score more runs than I am at the moment. I’m just trying to hit the ball too hard. I need to swing at 80 per cent, not 110. My game is a little bit like diamond or coal. So I’d like to even it out, to be like opal. Or something in the middle. Some other kind of rock. 

Cricket is a game. It’s really fun to play. Some people can take it a little bit too seriously, but life’s already serious enough. You can’t play cricket very straight and narrow, otherwise it would do my head in. Missing out puts it into perspective. 

I’m looking to become a regular fixture in the Australian team. And have a bit of fun.

I’ve eaten duck pancakes before a cricket game. Some of the girls tell me I’ve jinxed myself, but I didn’t get out for a duck. I scored 30-odd. 

I have ice-cream before every match. The night before. I eat ice-cream a lot. It’s like my little treat.

I like to be neat. I like my uniform tucked in, and I like wearing funky socks because that just reminds me to have a little bit more fun. Superman or hamburger socks, that kind of stuff.

 

This week’s highlights…

• Cricket: Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, day one

Saturday, 10.30am (AEDT), Blundstone Arena, Hobart

Soccer: A-League – Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers

Saturday, 7.50pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Rugby union: Australia v Scotland

Sunday, 1.30am (AEDT), Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

• Rugby league: Australia v England

Monday, 1am (AEDT), London Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Soccer: Socceroos v Thailand

Tuesday, 11pm (AEDT), Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok

Cricket: Southern Stars v South Africa women, 1st ODI

Friday, 2.20pm (AEDT), Manuka Oval, Canberra 

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 12, 2016 as "Hitting it hard". Subscribe here.

Richard Cooke
is a journalist and writer for television. He is The Saturday Paper's sports editor.