By Jill Scanlon
What can a 17 year old school girl bring to an established and successful national team which is currently dominating world cricket? The answer – a future!
Lauren Cheatle is an active, bright-eyed young sportswoman with all the traits of a future champion, playing representative netball as well as cricket at the top level -- which is probably why she is being likened to Southern Stars and NSW team mate Ellyse Perry.
By the age of 16 she had been selected for the NSW state team and was being ranked as one of the nation’s ten fastest bowlers.
And if having yourself compared to one of your heroes in the form of Perry is not enough, then it must be mind-blowing to have your bowling action compared to a male cricketer and one of Australia’s leading pace bowlers, Mitchell Starc.
It’s been a busy couple of months for Cheatle, participating in the inaugural WBBL, which became the ground-breaking success story of this summer in terms of competitive women’s sport in Australia; following NSW State representation and culminating, just a few weeks ago, in a call-up to the Southern Stars.
With another year of school still to complete, she has had a school holiday break few of her friends could match.
What needs to be remembered – and which is great news for the future of Australian Women’s cricket – is Lauren Cheatle is a teenager.
The cricket world is seemingly at her feet with the opportunity for growth and development of what is already a prodigious talent.
The strong global response to Cricket Australia’s major strategy into developing Women’s cricket and raising the sport’s profile, as evidenced by the inaugural Women's Big Bash League season, is being seen as the first long awaited step towards equitable exposure and support for the sport -- and Cheatle is one of the first of the essential building blocks into the future.