Australian women cricketer Alex Blackwell inspired by Kohli-Dhoni's running between wickets, ahead of World T20 final

Kolkata: When it comes to running between the wickets, the understanding between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli inspires Australian women's team all-rounder Alex Blackwell.

Blackwell has had a quiet tournament after her unbeaten 42 against South Africa in their opening World T20 match.

She hoped to turn it around with focus on singles and doubles come the big match Sunday.

"I will be looking to practice good cricket shots in front of the wicket, looking to turn ones into twos. Perhaps I gain some inspiration from Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni and the way they have approached the middle overs, that's my job to make sure to turn ones into twos and put pressure on the outfielders," the 32-year-old said on the sidelines of their practice session at Eden Gardens today.

"It's not always about clearing the ropes, that's not really my game. Yes, I'm a boundary hitter but it's about running hard. My job is really to have an impact in the middle-order to upset the opposition bowlers."

Australian women cricketer, Alex Blackwell. GettyImages

Australian women cricketer, Alex Blackwell. GettyImages

Known for improvising shots, Alex was seen with an unusual stance way outside off stump during their semifinal victory over England, similar to Aussie captain Steve Smith's style.

But Blackwell in a lighter vein claimed that she was practising that unusual stroke much before Smith.

"I will try to show some interesting shots, maybe you have seen a few of those. One was described as a 'Steve Smith shot' but I'm pretty sure I'm doing that a little longer than he has, got a few years on him," she smiled.

"I will bat a little differently than rest of our team. I would like to be a 360-player. Sometimes in these conditions you don't get to play behind square shots."

Echoing sentiments of India captain Mithali Raj and West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, Alex too called for equal pay and said in five years' time they would be a standalone product.

"Gender should not determine your pay. I do agree with equal pay. In the business of sport, it's to do with how the money comes in and media write and things like that. We can't expect same sort of split currently. But our conditions should be equal. With time the pay difference will be reduced."

She further heaped praise on Cricket Australia for inculcating professionalism in the Southern Stars.

"I'm really proud to say that as an Australian team, we travel the same way like the men's do, we stay in the same accommodation. As Australian players, the best thing we can do is to maximise the opportunities that are given.

"We're moving towards full professionalism in our squad and that allows us to play better cricket long term. You don't become a better cricketer overnight just because you're getting paid a little bit more. I think it's going to help us, let's say in five years' time, we will be a standalone product and there will be media interest and the TV rights going along with our matches."

The interest for the women's cricket may be nowhere in comparison to the media attention that men's teams but Alex said their game was equally exciting.

"Their game is a little different. We have lack of power and pace on the ball. You're not going to see the same product but it's equally exciting. The way the girls go about battling it out for their nations against big rivals is the same drama.

I would continue to play alongside the men's tournament."

Citing example of the West Indies cricket who will be eyeing a double winning both men's and women's crown, she said, "One thing that's really special is the way the West Indies have made the finals in both men's and women's cricket.

That's something that we aim for as an Australian team.

"Both men and women hope to be no 1 in the world. We still have got a chance to maintain our No 1 ranking. We're looking forward to doing that."

Having won their ODI World Cup in 1997 at Eden Gardens under Belinda Clark, Alex said they're feeling at home in the iconic venue.

"She (Belinda) has sent her well wishes. This has been the 'home' to Australians, even though it's a long time. We're very excited about the challenges ahead. We're really happy to be here at Eden Gardens. I was never here before. This is my fifth time to India. It's a popular place for Australia, particularly the women's team. We have faced the West Indies in the ODI World Cup final before, but this will be a new challenge," she said.


Updated Date: Apr 01, 2016 20:25 PM

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