Campbelltown’s Belinda Vakarema is bound for England after being selected as part of the Australian cricket squad.
She will compete in the one-day Women’s World Cup in June.
The 19-year-old fast bowler, who grew up in Griffith, spoke about her inclusion in the one-day squad while in camp on the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s definitely an unbelievable experience to be selected in the squad to go to England with a great team,” she said.
The past year has seen Vakarema make her debut for the NSW side and she has also featured in the Women’s Big Bash as part of the Sydney Thunder side.
“It’s been a pretty hectic year,” she said.
“To debut for the (NSW) Lend Lease Breakers, that’s been massive considering it’s such a strong team.
“To be able to play for them, with all the big names in there, I owe a lot of credit to my (team mates).”
She said her NSW teammates had been a great support during her whirlwind rise among the Australian cricket ranks.
“They are all really supportive,” she said.
“But it’s not just the NSW girls, even the girls from Victoria and Queensland (have been too).
“Everyone gets along.”
Since arriving in camp, Vakarema has picked the brains of some of the squad’s veterans.
She said childhood hero Sarah Aley in particular had played a major role in making her feel part of the squad.
“Sarah Aley is someone I watched as a little kid – she was one of my biggest inspirations on the field. She has always been there (in camp) giving me advice and helping out,” she said.
“Megan Schutt has given me advice from the first day. She’s definitely somebody I’m really close with because we are similar with how we bowl and I’ve learnt a lot off her.”
Australia’s first game will be on Thursday, June 20 against South Africa in Oakham.
Their final pool game will also be against the Proteas on Saturday, July 15 in Bristol.
The final will be held at Lord’s on Sunday, July 23.