Leg-spinner Georgia Wareham is only 19, but she’s already making a big splash in Australian cricket.
So impressive was the teenager's campaign for Australia’s Under 19s on their tour of South Africa in April, where she picked up nine wickets across six matches including 4-17 in a 50-over match against the Emerging South Africa side, she produced something CA high performance coach Leah Poulton had never seen before.
“She didn’t bowl a bad ball in South Africa,” Poulton told cricket.com.au.
“For a young leggie to have that amount of control is just fantastic.
“I haven’t seen a young leggie do that on a long tour like that before.
“She was a key player for us in that series.”
The youngest player in the inaugural edition of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash, Wareham then established herself as a key player for the Melbourne Renegades.
Hailing from Mortlake in western Victoria, she's part of a crew of budding female leg-spinners coming up the ranks of Australian cricket.
Leading the pack is South Australia’s Amanda-Jade Wellington, an established member of the Australian squad at just 21, while Rachel Trenaman, a member of the National Performance Squad alongside Wareham, is starting to make a name for herself at 16.
But while Wellington and Trenaman are both big turners who toss the ball up and give it a rip, Wareham is all about accuracy and control.
Poulton is reluctant to draw too many comparisons between players, but describes Wareham’s abilities as similar to those of former Australia spinner and fellow Victorian Kristen Beams.
“She’s a great fielder as well, and an excellent middle-order batter.”
Wareham plays alongside Beams for both Victoria and club team Essendon-Maribyrnong Park, and says the 33-year-old has been a valuable mentor.
“Beamsy is really good,” Wareham told cricket.com.au.
“We talk a lot about what she thinks about when she’s bowling and it’s good to be around her.
“I’ve also been working a lot with (Melbourne Stars left-arm spinner) Michael Beer at Victoria, working on the technical side of things, so it’s been good to have his input.”
Like just about every up-and-coming Australian leg-spinner of her vintage, Wareham puts her interest in the craft down to the impact of Shane Warne on the game during her formative years.
It was a skill first tested in the backyard of her family home and later worked on in the nets as she made the switch from medium pacers to spin.
This winter, Wareham has a golden opportunity to lift her game to another level as part of the NPS program, spending a total of nine weeks at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre working under the country’s top coaches to improve her skills and fitness.
It’s also a chance to train alongside the Australian squad, who are preparing for a busy summer that includes a home series against New Zealand and a World T20 in the Caribbean.
“It’s been pretty full on so far,” Wareham said. “There’s a lot of fitness work with running and incorporating fielding into it.
“It’s been really good to be in that professional environment, you learn so much being around them and from all the knowledge they’ve got.
“There are great facilities and access great cricketers and coaches, so it’s good to spend a lot of time up here.
“I’m just aiming to get better at little things and hopefully take my game to the next level so I can help (Victoria and the Renegades) out more here and there.”
Commonwealth Bank T20I series v NZ
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra
Commonwealth Bank ODI series v NZ
February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth
February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne