After a broken finger threatened to derail her first Rebel WBBL season, Brisbane Heat batter Josie Dooley is making the most of her chance in teal.
Dooley, who earned her first Heat contract this summer after being rookie contracted in WBBL|03, was forced to wait until Boxing Day to play her maiden Big Bash match after breaking a finger during a trial game against the Sixers ahead of the season.
And the 18-year-old has wasted no time making an impression. After being dismissed for 13 and 9 in her first two matches, she then produced 44no against the Hobart Hurricanes before a player-of-the-match knock of 48no against the Adelaide Strikers in Mackay.
“I was just thinking watch the ball (and) I got pretty lucky, rode my luck a bit,” Dooley said of her unbeaten Mackay innings.
“I just tried to get into my innings before playing play some bigger shots later.
“(The Big Bash) has been pretty full on with all the travel and everything but it’s been great to be around the girls and making my debut on Boxing Day was pretty amazing.”
It’s a sign of the esteem that Dooley, a wicketkeeper who has managed to force her way into this Heat side as a batter alone, is held in that she was rushed into the Heat XI once her finger had healed.
The teenager, who was part of Cricket Australia’s National Performance Squad that spent the 2018 winter training in Brisbane, plays with a confidence beyond her years.
And while she’s headed out to bat against some of the world’s best bowlers in front of big crowds – her debut came in front of 20,000 people at Optus Stadium, while 5650 packed into Mackay’s Harrup Park last Saturday – she says it’s in the field she’s felt the most nervous.
“I’ve actually found it more daunting in the field because I usually have the gloves on, so I’m not used to it,” Dooley said.
“I know in my first game Meg (Lanning, Scorchers captain) kept looking where I was, trying to see where I was in the field to psych me out.
“With batting, I don’t find it that much of a difference from the WNCL, there’s crowds and expectations and people watching but when I’m in the middle I have a clear mind and just back myself.”
Given the presence of wicketkeeper and Australia batter Beth Mooney in the Heat side, Dooley knew impressing with the bat was her best chance of earning a Big Bash debut this summer.
Her breakthrough moment with the bat came earlier in the summer, in the 50-over Women’s National Cricket League, when she struck an unbeaten half-century to help Queensland secure a thrilling one-wicket win over reigning champions NSW.
Now, she’s producing more of the same in the WBBL and it’s safe to say Dooley is one to keep an eye on for the future.
She’s already represented Australia A and the Australia Under-19 team, while she made her state debut for Queensland during the 2017-18 summer.
Now, she’s relishing the chance to learn from her Heat teammates, particularly fellow ‘keeper Mooney and big-hitting opener Grace Harris.
“It’s pretty amazing, getting to learn from DK (Delissa Kimmince) and Moons with the gloves, just seeing how she goes about her business,” Dooley said.
“Grace Harris has been killing it this season, she plays fearless cricket which is something I want to do with my game and keep improving that aspect of it.”
When she’s not on the cricket field, the Brisbane local can often be found on the coast, surfboard in hand.
"If I was good enough, I think I’d be a pro surfer… but I’m not," Dooley told cricket.com.au in the lead-up to the summer. "It’s definitely one of my main passions, whenever I have time."
The Heat will be out to cement their finals berth when they meet the Melbourne Stars on Thursday at the Gabba.