Brown seeks slower pace during her down time

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While her T20 World Cup-winning teammates are making history at the inaugural Women’s Premier League in India, Darcie Brown will be watching her local football and netball teams, indulging the occasional treat of hot chips and gravy, and exploring options for volunteer work beyond cricket.

After an extraordinary 10 months in which she’s collected winners’ medals at the ICC World Cup, Weber WBBL, T20 World Cup and Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Australia’s exciting fast bowler is understandably craving a slightly slower pace.

In addition to celebrating her 20th birthday next Tuesday, Brown is eyeing a complete break from bowling over the coming weeks which will be largely spent with her family at Kapunda, 85km north of Adelaide on the cusp of the Barossa Valley.

But apart from supporting the Kapunda Bombers – where she played netball until cricket dominated her focus from age 13 – and potentially offering some coaching assistance to Garville netball club in Adelaide’s Premier League competition, Brown admits she doesn’t have much planned.

“I’m trying to work that out actually,” she said, when asked upon her return to South Australia from South Africa today how she might fill her upcoming down time.

“Obviously I love going (home) when footy and netty season starts and watching them, supporting those guys.

“I’m going to have to work out what to do while everyone’s at work, because I’ll just be sitting at home basically.

“But I might volunteer somewhere, and just try something different outside of cricket.”

Asked whether that volunteering might extend to community-based programs such as Meals on Wheels, Brown laughed before replying “I don’t know … maybe”.

However, it was her desire to step away from the hectic travel and playing schedule that’s been her life since making her Australia debut shortly after turning 18 in 2021 – as well as recognising the stresses fast bowling places on her body – that convinced her to withdraw from last month’s WPL auction.

Brown nominated for the February 14 auction but noted she was initially hesitant to do so because it would mean travelling direct to India from South Africa after the T20 World Cup, and sacrificing time at home given Australia’s next commitment is the women’s Ashes campaign in the UK in June-July.

But she was a late withdrawal from the bidding on auction day at which 14 Australians earned landmark WPL deals, with Brown the only member of the starting XI that triumphed over South Africa at Newlands last Sunday not involved in the game-changing competition.

“Being a fast bowler, you have to work your loads in after you get a break,” she said today.

“I’d just prefer at the moment to have a bit more of a break, and then get into bowling a bit later this month.

“My main priority is playing for Australia, and I’m looking forward to spending some time with loved ones.

“We’ve got a hectic schedule which is great for us, and obviously my main priority is playing for Australia.

“So just looking forward to some down time really, it should be some good fun.”

Brown’s thoughts were echoed by World Cup-winning coach Shelley Nitschke who arrived home to Brisbane today and declared “I’ve had enough cricket for a while”, claiming she was also in need of some down time before beginning preparation for the team’s Ashes defence.

Nitschke conceded a number of the Australia players who have headed to the WPL, which begins in Mumbai this weekend, would head into the three-week tournament feeling the pinch after a full home summer followed immediately by the World Cup campaign in South Africa.

But she claimed a key factor in the outfit’s remarkable run of successes has been the players’ capacity to “switch off” between matches to ensure they were ready to go come match day.

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“I think some are pretty weary,” Nitschke told reporters in Brisbane.

“It’s been a tiring World Cup, and the round games were pretty close together.

“They’ve done enough training, so I think a lot of them will just be playing the games and taking the time in between games to perhaps recuperate for the next game.

“I think they all know how to manage themselves, and luckily it’s a reasonably quick turnaround to the tournament.”

Brown revealed she was unlikely to be watching many of the games being staged in India over coming weeks given the time difference (they are either afternoon or evening games in Mumbai) and acknowledging she’s neither a late night nor very early morning person.

But she also indicated that, while she is content to forego a potentially lucrative stint at the inaugural WPL, she is keen to be involved in future iterations of the tournament and will also look to take part in other overseas competitions such as England’s The Hundred should her schedule allow.

“I’d definitely love to do it eventually,” she said.

“But obviously I’m still young and I want to experience some things back home in Australia first before touring the world.”

Brown also rated her performances at the T20 World Cup, where she finished as Australia’s third-highest wicket taker with seven (at an average of 15) behind Megan Schutt and Ashleigh Gardner (both 10 wickets), as her best overall effort in a global competition.

“I think it was probably the most consistent I’ve been in a tournament like that,” she said.

“Obviously there’s a couple of overs, and a couple of balls that get sprayed a little bit but I’m still young.

“I mean, that’s not going to be an excuse forever but hopefully the more I play, the more experience I get and I’ll be able to stand up in more clutch moments.”

Brown also reflected on the post-final celebrations where the dominant team and support staff lingered at Newlands long after the final ball was bowled “until the esky ran out”, before convening the following day for a lunch at one of Cape Town’s waterside restaurants.

However, she claimed being hailed as part of the greatest women’s team of all-time felt slightly strange given she has only recently forged a place in the line-up and still has to pinch herself she’s playing alongside greats the calibre of skipper Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney and Ellyse Perry.

“The last 18 months we’ve basically done it all, which is pretty hard to fathom I guess,” she said.

“It’s been really surreal, but I’m really proud of the girls and our staff members for what we’ve been able to achieve in that time.

“I’m just really proud and grateful.

“You look at the celebration photos and you’re like ‘I can’t believe I’m in those photos with those girls’.

“So it’s really cool.”

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