A stint in the Women's Big Bash League helped Ravini Oa ally variations to her raw speed, as she learnt from some of the best in the world.
The Papua New Guinea fast bowler is backing her experience with Perth Scorchers to give her an edge at the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier.
The two-week placement helped the 23-year-old pick up skills that helped not just her, but her PNG teammates as well.
“I went down to Perth Scorchers this January in the Rookie Placement programme and did some training there. It gave me good experience and it was a privilege to play with the high-class players. It gives me more ideas to share with my teammates.
“I’m a bowler, so I used to hang out especially with Katherine Brunt from England. I used to hang around with her, and she gave me ideas on her bowling. It was a good experience for me, so when I get more ideas I share it with my bowling fellows.
“She properly taught me how to bowl yorkers and some variations, which I’ve been practicing at home.”
Though she’s now confident in those variations, Oa still feels that her main weapon will be her pace.
“I admire Ellyse Perry, because she’s one of the world’s fastest bowlers,” she says. “When I’m bowling I’m always trying to bowl really quick, but sometimes I need to read how the batsman is batting and if it’s fast but she’s still hitting it, that’s when I try variations.”
Oa isn’t from a cricketing family, and the story of how she first picked up the game, playing with a tape ball on the streets of PNG capital Port Moresby, will be familiar to followers not just of PNG cricket but of Pakistani cricket too. Given Pakistan’s pedigree for producing some of the fiercest quicks the game has known, it’s no surprise she cites “attacking with the ball” as PNG’s main strengths.
Also in their favour is their experience of prevailing in pressure situations. To qualify for the World T20 Qualifier, they first had to win the East Asia-Pacific Regional tournament, and suffered an early setback when fierce rivals Samoa registered a 16-run victory over them. It meant they had to win four games on the bounce, the last of which was a virtual final againt Samoa. Undaunted, Oa’s 2/9 helped set up a six-wicket win.
“We didn’t feel bad when we lost the first game,” says Oa. “We had the courage to fight back and looked forward to playing against them and beating them to win the tournament and qualify for this tournament. We’re used to the pressure games, we know how to handle them and avoid pressure during the game itself. It’s easier for us now.”
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!