Northern Superchargers' seamer Phoebe Graham urges fans to see the beauty in both the women's and men's game in The Hundred, explains why speed and power aren't necessarily the biggest dictators of success and offers some tips on what to watch out for in the women's game…
What a summer lies ahead as a Supercharger!
I'm surrounded by cricketing legends: Jemimah Rodrigues, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid among them.
This is truly a summer to soak it all in, learn from the best and enjoy every moment.
I never imagined a summer where I'd be playing at: Headingley, Lord's, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford and the Ageas Bowl. It's awesome, particularly when you consider that only a few years ago we lacked facilities, kit and coaches!
I've played both men's and women's cricket and people often ask me: 'What do you bowl?'
The answer is: 'Medium in Men's. Fast in Women's'. There's no huge difference; if you hit your areas, people can't get you away. But speed and power naturally change the way the women's game is perceived.
We tend to associate speed and power as the biggest dictators of success.
Currently I'm hitting speeds of 70mph+. Put in context against some of the world's fastest bowlers, Shabnim Ismail is clocking 75mph and Lockie Ferguson is up at 95mph.
This doesn't make women's fast bowlers lesser or men's fast bowlers better. Ergonomically we are very different. Therefore, it's very different to watch.
I've already found out that The Hundred isn't all about speed and power. Tactical awareness will give teams the leading edge. I'm thinking about my plans and how to be one step ahead of our opponents.
So, when you're watching the tournament this year, move beyond lazy comparisons of sport. See the beauty in both the women's and men's game because it's going to be quite some show…
Here are a few tips on things to watch out for in women's cricket…
- Watch the swing of the ball - Kathryn Bryce for the Oval Invincibles is definitely a player to watch. She hoops the ball for fun and her inswing will cause many teams problems
- Variations - these will come through thick and fast. Beth Langston, of the Northern Superchargers, has about five speeds of deliveries up her sleeve
- Spin, spin, spin - We love to slow down the game and bring flight into play. Our very own Supercharger Katie Levick is a magician and leading wicket taker of all time.
- Innovation - We have innovation with the Natmeg (named after Nat Sciver of Trent Rockets, the world's best all-rounder) and you will see Laura Kimmince switch hit many bowlers for six (she's an overseas player for Northern Superchargers). With the ball coming through at a slower pace, the paddle, sweep and manipulation of the ball is on!
The Hundred Live
Cricket is a funny sport but the devil is in the detail.
My favourite quote is that 'comparison is the theft of joy'.
Don't expect it to be the same, but do expect it to be entertaining.
The Northern Superchargers will put on some shows, both the men's and women's teams.
Here we go!
Watch Northern Superchargers take on Welsh Fire this Saturday on the Sky Cricket YouTube channel from 2.30pm before live coverage of the men's game gets underway on Sky Sports The Hundred and Sky Sports Mix from 5.30pm.