Renegades hope ‘distinctive’ chief Matthews can proceed golden 12 months

The legspinner was sporting her Melbourne Renegades crimson on the WBBL launch in Melbourne. Her smile had changed a glance of dread that she had whereas sporting inexperienced for Australia’s T20I facet when bowling to her new Renegades captain Matthews, who was enjoying for West Indies, at North Sydney Oval earlier this month.

“She made it nearly impossible for us to bowl to her,” Wareham stated. “She puts a lot of pressure on the bowler and makes sure that if you miss then it’s probably going the distance. We all found it very difficult during those T20s to be able to contain her and we obviously didn’t do a very good job of it.

“Hopefully she did not use all these runs within the T20 sequence and she will avoid wasting for us.”

Wareham’s smile matched that of her Renegades coach Simon Helmot at the inaugural WBBL overseas draft last month. While most of the pre-draft buzz surrounded Perth Scorchers’ dilemma of which world-class allrounder to retain between Sophie Devine and Marizanne Kapp, Renegades walked away with arguably the best players in the draft in Matthews and Harmanpreet Kaur, knowing full well they had already secured Tammy Beaumont as a direct signing.

Beyond what Matthews has shown with her batting and bowling over the last 12 months – including winning player of the tournament in the WPL, player of the CPL final, and eight consecutive T20I player of the match awards capped by three in a row against Australia this month – Helmot was delighted he had secured a world-class leader to captain the side after Sophie Molineux was ruled out of the tournament with injury.

I think her versatility in her game, she’s a multi-skill player and an excellent fielder, and then with her leadership, she’s got all bases covered

Simon Helmot on Hayley Matthews

“Part of our planning was we needed to ensure we might safe a frontrunner,” Helmot told ESPNcricinfo. “Hayley [captained] for us within the final two or three video games final 12 months, and she or he was distinctive. And she actually loved her time with the Renegades final season and have become very invested.

“What impressed me is her team-first attitude. She’s obviously captain of her country, but her appetite to support others, to lead and care for others is firstly one of her greatest attributes.”

Helmot has coached a few of the world’s finest T20 gamers within the males’s recreation having labored within the IPL, CPL and BBL and he speaks as extremely of Matthews as any participant he is ever coached. Without making an attempt to make any direct comparisons, he stated her development as a triple-threat T20 participant and a frontrunner had reminded him of Dwayne Bravo, who he coached at Victoria, Renegades, and with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots within the CPL the place the pair mixed as captain and coach to win the 2021 title.

“Her ability to read the game and change gears, it’s not all crash and bash,” Helmot stated. “She can hit boundaries, but also her ability to manipulate strike and rotate strike and grow partnerships. That’s what I’ve seen from batting point of view. From her bowling point of view, she has a good understanding of when to attack and when to hold on tight and defend.

“I believe her versatility in her recreation, she’s a multi-skill participant and a very good fielder, after which along with her management, she’s acquired all bases coated.”

The respect between the coach and the new Renegades captain cuts both ways. Matthews herself had a broad smile on her face after catching up with Helmot upon her arrival in Melbourne.

“We went to one of many pubs and had a chat,” Matthews said. “Great man and clearly had the chance to work with him final 12 months within the WBBL so it is simply nice to be again and have him on the helm of the workforce teaching as properly.”

Helmot has made a special effort to reach out to all his players ahead of the season. He travelled from Victoria to South Australia to visit three of his players, Josie Dooley, Courtney Webb and Emma de Broughe, who are based there. He also travelled to New South Wales to visit Sarah Coyte and set up zoom chats with Matthews, Harmanpreet and Beaumont.

Part of his mantra since taking the Renegades’ role ahead of the Covid-affected 2021-22 season was to create a home-away-from-home environment for his players. It led to the long-languishing Renegades having their best-ever WBBL season, finishing second on the table before losing the Challenger to Adelaide Strikers. But he also wanted to learn more about how to get the best out of each individual as they chase that elusive WBBL title.

“I needed to dig deeper about how I might help gamers and the way our teaching group might help gamers in making ready them to be the very best that they are often and carry out the very best that they will,” he stated.

“Whether you are a senior participant or a brand new participant, you continue to wish to have position readability. To have a dialogue about that outdoors of coaching is only a good reminder for me that, it doesn’t matter what the expertise, a Sarah Coyte nonetheless needs to know her position and the way she will finest work in throughout the workforce.

“Secondly, it just gave me a good reminder that some players like to prepare in certain ways and not one size fits all. Even though team strategy is paramount, I’ve got to make sure that I’m still versatile, our coaching staff are still versatile and flexible enough to support our players.”

While he needs his gamers to be completely happy and comfy, he additionally needs them to play with an edge and take the sport on. He believes his leaders in Matthews and Harmanpreet will set that tone.

“I said on draft night we want to play with edge and we know with Hayley Matthews and Harmanpreet Kaur you get edge,” Helmot stated. “Tammy Beaumont with experience and edge. Jess Duffin has a no-nonsense approach and has high expectations of herself and her team-mates.

“I believe we have extra expertise in our squad this 12 months. And that is not simply by means of recruitment but in addition with the ability to get some gamers again in Wareham and Duffin. We’ll miss Soph heaps, she would have rounded the entire thing off, however I believe we have simply acquired most likely a more durable edge to our listing.”

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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