Tayla Vlaeminck is shaping up as Australia’s World Cup x-factor with former star Mel Jones declaring she can become the woman to break the 130-kilometres-per-hour barrier.
Tayla Vlaeminck in formFor Australia:
- 1 Test
- 6 ODIs: 6 wickets at average of 25.83
- 9 T20Is: 11 wickets at average of 14.63
Last three games:
- 2-32 (4 overs) – T20 International v India
- 2-18 (4 overs) – T20 International v England
- 3-13 (4 overs) – T20 International v India
(Stats: ESPN Cricinfo)
Vlaeminck has hit form at the right time before the Twenty20 World Cup, taking seven wickets at an average of nine in the recent tri-series against India and England.
A teenager when Australia won the title in the Caribbean two years ago, Vlaeminck played just one match.
But she now looks set as the Aussies’ third quick on bouncy home wickets likely to suit her out-and-out speed.
No bowler in the women’s game is known to have clocked 130kph, with 29-year-old New Zealander Lea Tahuhu and 31-year-old South African Shabnim Ismail the quickest at above 125kph.
New Zealand’s Lea Tahuhu is the equal-fastest women’s bowler in the world right now. (Reuters: Craig Brough)
Vlaeminck sits just above 120kph, but is aged 21 and is yet to have a long injury-free run.
Cricket.com.au tweet: Stumps rattled in the first over at North Sydney Oval. Tayla Vlaeminck with the perfect start #AUSvSL
“A lot of it is confidence in her own body,” Jones, who played 66 games for Australia across all formats, said.
“She’s had two ACL [injuries], a shoulder and she’s still quite young.
“Once she has that confidence to just wang it down there. It’s not unfathomable to say that she will be our 130kph bowler.”
“You don’t want to put pressure on her, but I think that’s capable.
“And if she doesn’t, she will generate the next generation of bowlers who want to be the next Tayla Vlaeminck.”
Jones has tipped a breakthrough World Cup for Vlaeminck when it begins against India on Friday, and for her to finally provide the solution to Australia’s search for a regular third quick.
Things to watch at the Women’s T20 World Cup
Ahead of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup opener, questions linger over Australia’s form and whether the no-ball rule has finally been fixed.
While Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry have been mainstays for the Aussies, 11 other quicks and pace all-rounders have been used across all formats since Rene Farrell and Sarah Coyte’s international retirements in 2016.
But a fit Vlaeminck shapes as a possible answer.
“I just think at the moment she scares people. She puts a scare factor into sides,” Jones said.
“Megan Schutt is the number one bowler in the world and she can swing the ball. But I think teams will go ‘we can handle her and not get out’.
“But they’ll say, ‘we don’t know what this young kid is going to give us’. We haven’t seen that in women’s cricket for a while.”