‘It’s never fun’: Aussie bowlers prepare to mix drinks

Bangladesh v Australia - Women's ODI Series: Game 1
Australian captain Alyssa Healy’s vast array of bowling options is a great problem to have, according to opening bowler Megan Schutt. Picture: Abhishek Chinnappa / Getty Images

Megan Schutt hates watching from the sidelines but concedes it’s necessary to miss games on the Bangladesh tour as Australia builds towards the T20 World Cup in September.

The star swing bowler said a need to give exposure to all squad members combined with the resurgence of Ellyse Perry would mean limited opportunities for Australia’s specialist bowlers during six white-ball games in Bangladesh this month.

Schutt claimed 1-5 in a relentless six-over spell as Australia claimed a 118-run win in the first ODI on Thursday, but is set to miss multiple games as coach Shelley Nitschke gives opportunities to reserve bowlers Tayla Vlaeminck and Sophie Molineux, who have spent more than two years out of the side.

“Yeah, they’ve already pre-warned that was going to be the case,” Schutt said about the planned rotations.

“We all figured that … it’s never fun sitting on the sidelines, I’ll be honest, but we do understand the need for that, we all need to grow our game equally as a squad and be prepared for what comes in the World Cup.

Australia v South Africa - Women's ODI Series: Game 2
Megan Schutt is prepared for time on the sidelines mixing drinks in Bangladesh as Australia rotates its bowlers in preparation for the T20 World Cup later this year. Picture: Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

“I don’t really enjoy sitting on the sidelines, but they’ve told us that and it’s part of it. As long as it’s communicated well, and everyone does the team thing anyway, mixing the drinks, keeping everyone up and about.”

Australia used six bowlers without turning to the pace of Annabel Sutherland and Tahlia McGrath in the first game, and with Perry in terrific bowling form after a WPL which included a record haul of 6-15, Schutt said the specialist bowlers were feeling the pressure to hold their spots.

“Speaking mainly for myself, the ball is not going to swing for very long in these conditions, so while it’s actually doing it, I’ve got to be at my best from ball one to make sure I get some more overs throughout the game,” she said.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely amazing to have Pez firing on all cylinders again and it’s exciting for Midge (captain Alyssa Healy) to have so many options to go for, but it definitely puts pressure on those of us who are just bowlers and not an all-rounder, it gives you competitive drive and makes you keep wanting to get better.

Bangladesh v Australia - Women's ODI Series: Game 1
Captain Alyssa Healy (left) will have at least eight bowling options at her disposal in each game during Australia’s tour of Bangladesh this month. Picture: Abhishek Chinnappa / Getty Images

“If you’re not wanting to do that, then why are you playing professional sport?”

Schutt, 31, said she was sticking to next year’s one-day World Cup in India as a natural endpoint to her international career, but didn’t rule out playing on further if her motivation was still there.

“I honestly don’t know, I’m a pretty impulsive person, so it could get to 2025 and I go ‘bang, let’s do another 12 months’ … I might get divorced, if that’s the case,” she joked.

“But I think I’m open to it, it would depend on what’s coming up after that and the reason why I want to keep going.

“I’m fortunate to have been in this team for a long time and achieved a lot of success in this side, but I still love the game, I still have the competitive drive to get better, and I love just being part of a team sport at a professional level, I think there’s no greater honour than that.”