Burns' Tasmanian move bears fruit
Glance down the list of leading run-getters in the 2012-13 Australian Women's Twenty20 Cup and three things stand out about the numbers of Erin Burns.
As an allrounder with the Tasmanian Roar, Burns has made her runs more swiftly than anyone else (strike rate 129.74), more thrillingly (7 sixes) and more daringly (not once has she remained unbeaten in 12 innings). Then there is her best tally, a brazen 90 against the defending Champions Victoria at Bellerive Oval that included four of those sixes and led to a victory for the Roar, the most recent addition to the national competition.
Burns' aggressive, hard-hitting attitude is ideally suited to the hubbub of T20. As the ACA women's cricketer of the month for December, her peers have noticed. "I love T20 cricket, it's probably my favourite format because it's such a dynamic game," she said.
"Anything can happen in those 20 overs and it's a lot more exciting a game. If you can get away to a good start you set yourself up for a win. I've enjoyed the season with the bat, particularly towards the end, getting a few scores up has been nice … it's always fun to go out there and hit a ball nice and hard."
The chance to do so at national level evaded Burns for a time, as she battled through the perennially strong New South Wales system but could progress no further than the state second XI. The Roar's entry to the competition in 2009 had the island state casting around for extra talent, and Burns soon found her phone ringing with an offer to play. The decision to accept was to be a fruitful one, for she discovered that not only were the opportunities greater, her skills enhanced to meet them.
"The Breakers squad was pretty accomplished, as it tends to be always, but I was just playing club and happy to play in the second XI," she said. "Then I got a call from Tassie asking if I wanted to play some national league stuff for them. To get that chance to go into the national league not have to go through as much of a competitive scene in Tassie was pretty lucky in a way. I've got a lot better though the exposure of playing WNCL cricket.
"Tassie really gets behind cricket as a statewide sport, it's quite big, and not only Cricket Tasmania but the media get around it, women's cricket are often on the news and in the papers, which is something you don't often get in many other states. It is just a really good vibe, and our team in terms of playing group is a good place where everyone gets along. It certainly helps your game when you enjoy it and enjoy the people you play with."
Seldom has it been enjoyed more than against Victoria on December 22, when Burns produced the sort of innings that not only pushed Tasmania to one of their four wins for the competition, but will also stick in the minds of the national selectors when they consider a team for the next international T20 engagement.
"Leading up to that round as a team we'd discussed that Victoria were the reining premiers and a pretty solid team, so we'd have to get a decent score on the board to match them," Burns said. "Our mindset was to be as aggressive as possible, especially batting first to get a decent score we could bowl at. I went out with that mentality from ball one, I got out there pretty early and was able to keep carrying on from there.
"Everyone's goal in the WNCL is to reach international level. I try not to think too far ahead of myself, I just try to play well for Tassie. If you do that and you're scoring runs consistently then you've got to get some interest from the selectors."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here