Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Teenage quick Darcie Brown is hoping to use her short ball judiciously in the upcoming women's 50-over World Cup as she prepares to shoulder the load as Australia's main strike weapon in her first global tournament.
Brown admitted her bowling craft had developed over the summer as evidenced by her four-wicket haul against England, where she did most of the damage with fuller length balls targeting the stumps as opposed to the short barrage she gave India.
"I've been trying to actually bowl a bit fuller and then use the short ball as an actual weapon rather than, especially in the India series, I was bowling some short pies," Brown said. "But I guess with consistency and getting stronger, it'll be better. It all depends on the conditions in the pitch.
"We'll assess that on game days and stuff like that. But definitely always keep it in the back pocket for a variation."
Brown said her body was feeling good after a long summer which featured two international multi-format series and a full WBBL campaign with runnner-up Adelaide Strikers.
She was rested from the final two ODIs of the Ashes series. But she credited some important pre-season strength training as part of the reason why she has remained in good health across a long season.
"I've been working really hard, especially this pre-season on my core strength," Brown said. "It's probably a really important aspect in fast bowling.
"The start of pre-season I couldn't really hold a 20-second plank, but now I can hold it a bit longer, thank goodness. So yeah, I've been working on that and especially lots of side stuff. Lots of fast bowlers get side strains and what not. Just a lot of injury prevention in that sort of aspect too.
"I feel so much stronger at the crease and I guess that shows with how much more consistent I've been. I'm still not quite there yet. But I suppose you can compare it to last season, it's a lot better. Hopefully we're just on the up and it'll just keep getting better."
Brown has enjoyed the mandatory seven-day hotel Managed Isolation Quarantine (MIQ) the Australia team has had to endure on arrival in New Zealand as a chance to rest and recover. Australia and England, who were quarantined in the same hotel, were let out of MIQ on Thursday, three days earlier than expected after the rules were changed from a 10-day isolation to seven. The two squads now get a lengthy build-up into their first match of the World Cup against each other on March 5 in Hamilton.
Brown revealed she was nervous about playing in her first major tournament but felt that her experience of debuting in New Zealand last year will help calm her a little bit.
"It's good to have some experience going into the World Cup now," Brown said. "I'm still pretty nervous because it is my first World Cup but probably a bit less nervous than I was last time I was here."