Megan Schutt: 'I didn't have the skill or work ethic, I just happened to be able to swing a ball'

The Australia pace bowler has made peace with the fact that she may never play another Test, but as far as other formats go, she still has plenty left in the tank

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Megan Schutt, in her bowling action, England vs Australia, Women's Ashes, 2nd ODI, Southampton, July 16, 2023

Megan Schutt is hoping to play on at least till the 2025 ODI World Cup in India  •  Getty Images

Megan Schutt is realistic that her Test match days are over, but hopes to be able to extend her international career through to the 2025 ODI World Cup in India.
Schutt played the last of her four Tests in 2019 against England and has since missed the day-night encounter with India in 2021 after the birth of her daughter and the most recent two Ashes matches due to being omitted.
Australia have two Tests coming up this season - an away fixture against India, which is set to be a day-night game in December, then a home clash against South Africa in Perth starting February 15 - but Schutt does not expect to feature in either.
It was the omission from the Canberra Test in early 2022, which was partly attributed to workloads ahead of the ODI World Cup, that stung the most but Schutt is now at ease with where she stands.
"I think Test cricket's gone, which I'm completely at peace with," she told ESPNcricinfo. "I was probably disappointed to miss out at Manuka…I wasn't bitter about it but was disappointed. Since then I've realised as a person, as a player, how my body's tracking, it's probably not my format anymore.
"I'm pretty realistic in knowing that when the ball stops swinging I'm not overly dangerous. Only being a new-ball bowler who is pretty easy to play out at 100-110 clicks [kph] if it's not doing anything is probably not what you need in a Test side.
"I'm obviously there to do the job if I ever get called up, I believe I'll be on standby and those sorts of things…[but] I'm at peace with it if I never play another Test. I've got to be part of some pretty cool Test matches."
Schutt added that although Australia play more than most, the lack of Tests in the women's game made it easier to accept.
"It sounds weird, but if it was something we played once every series and I was missing out that would hurt more," she said. "The way I see it, it's team first. I completely understand that; I wouldn't pick me in the XI, either, so I'm pretty realistic about it. I've never really had a sad moment. It's a bit disappointing but I've got a baggy green, so I've done what I wanted to do."
That does not mean Schutt hasn't got more she wants to achieve in an international career that began in 2012. Her main ambition is to reach the next ODI World Cup in India and sign off at a global event, with next year's T20 edition in Bangladesh one of the markers along the way.
Schutt has played in three ODI World Cups although the last two years have been relatively lean for her in the format with 15 wickets at 38.46 from 17 outings since the start of 2022 and just two in five matches since the previous World Cup in New Zealand.
"Ideally I'd love another couple of years in Australian colours. I would love to get to 2025 and finish on a World Cup," she said. "That's the goal, whether it's achievable body-wise, whether CA will want me, those are the hurdles that you don't know are coming."
Before that, and even if Test cricket is no longer on the agenda, Schutt embarks on a season that will be the most hectic players will have faced. The WNCL is already underway, and Australia start their international summer against West Indies in Sydney on Sunday.
There is then the WBBL - where Schutt will be a key part of defending champions Adelaide Strikers - before the multi-format tour of India. Coming back from that, Australia will head almost straight into another multi-format home series against South Africa. If the WPL remains in the same position on the calendar, that will follow quickly for those involved.
It's not only Australian players part of an increasingly busy schedule, with some England and India stars now opting not to take part in certain tournaments. Smriti Mandhana, who Schutt revealed Strikers did have talks with ahead of the WBBL draft, will again be absent from the competition while Nat Sciver-Brunt did not put her name in.
"I'm pretty realistic in knowing that when the ball stops swinging I'm not overly dangerous. Only being a new-ball bowler who is pretty easy to play out at 100-110 clicks [kph] if it's not doing anything is probably not what you need in a Test side"
Megan Schutt is aware of her limitations
"Our schedule as a whole is pretty intimidating to be honest," Schutt said. "It's a bit of a different case for me, having a wife and child at home. That definitely affects my decisions and what I'll choose to play in the future. But just having the choice is probably the ultimate opportunity in itself.
"There's so many leagues now that if someone does want to do the T20 circuit, that's bloody awesome. If they have the body and desire to keep doing that then that's cool. But it's definitely daunting and something we've discussed with our coaches about how we are going to manage ourselves."
One particularly challenging period for Schutt this season will be the trip to India which is over Christmas and New Year, a rare occasion of Australian cricketers touring in that window. Schutt confirmed she would make herself available, but admitted it came with difficulties.
"I'll be available. It's against a major nation in tough conditions, I'm not going to opt out, but it will be extremely sad," she said. "I'm not going lie, I hate the fact it's over Christmas. If there was some way around it where we could come earlier or later I'd try move around it, but we can't do that. We've just got to suck it up and get over there.
"It's a little bit different when you have a two-year-old at home and Christmas is all about kids rather than yourself and that will be the hard part, being away from them. I truly don't really care for Christmas other than my family. But it's just a part of it, we understand that's how the schedule has to go."
First up for Schutt, however, will be a landmark outing. Her next T20I will be the 100th of her career, making her the sixth Australian (behind Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning, Jess Jonassen and Aaron Finch) and first specialist pace bowler to reach that milestone. Schutt, who was unaware of her impending century, already sits top of the charts in T20I wicket-taking with 128 at 16.46 and an economy of 6.35.
"It's a really cool reflection in that when I first debuted for Australia I probably didn't deserve it," she said. "I didn't have the work ethic, didn't have the skill level, I just happened to be able to swing a ball and that's what they needed at the time.
"Had you told me then, or even a few years into it, that I would be a mainstay and play that many games, I'd have told you no chance. I didn't know that was coming up so makes me feel extra old, but also really cool that T20 is the most fickle format and I've been able to play 99 games."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo