Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty (left) swapped the racket for the bat, and signed with the Brisbane Heat for this year’s Woman’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
Barty, 19, made a name for herself as one of Australian Tennis’s brightest young talents, having made it to both the Wimbledon and US open doubles finals with partner Casey Dellacqua in 2013. Last year, however, Barty admitted to losing her passion for the game and took a 12 month break from professional tennis.
A change was needed, and the lure of playing in a team sport brought Barty to Queensland Cricket earlier this year. A natural athlete, Barty impressed early with the Western Suburbs side, in the Brisbane Women’s Premier Cricket competition.
Last week she finished with a top score of 63 not out in 60 balls in her first T20 match. Given Barty’s tennis background, batting was always going to be her strong suit, but it was with the ball where she surprised the most. She ended with impressive figures of two for 13 from four overs.
Barty is the latest Australian sports star to jump codes; Jarryd Hayne transitioned from NRL to NFL earlier this year.
Barty’s first true test will in December 5, when the Heat play the Melbourne Stars in the season opener.
The women’s teams will adopt the same colours, team strip and name as the men’s franchises. – Jackson Thomas.
Top photo from Brisbane Heat’s Official Twitter feed.