Erin Fazackerley tends to stand out in a crowd, but it’s not just the young Tasmanian quick’s height that has people talking.
Fazackerley is more than 180cm tall and her height, combined with her natural athleticism, has seen the 20-year-old compile quite a list of achievements in a short time.
In the last 12 months she’s debuted in State and Rebel WBBL cricket for Tasmania and the Hurricanes, and represented the Governor-General’s XI against England.
And with Australia searching for fast bowlers who are genuinely quick wicket-takers, it’s not surprising Cricket Australia is excited.
Fazackerley is a member of the National Performance Squad (NPS) overseen by high performance coach Leah Poulton – a group of 13 rising athletes tipped for higher honours who are spending a large chunk of their winter training at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre.
"I don’t know how tall Erin is, but she’s well over six feet,” Cricket Australia high performance coach Leah Poulton told cricket.com.au.
"That’s what caught our eye when we first noticed her in Tasmania.
"She’s a fast bowler who uses bounce as a major asset and she’s a very athletic girl who also played a high level of tennis and netball.
"She’s got very good agility, and now our main job with her is to get her nice and strong."
Cricket ability clearly runs strong in the Fazackerley genes – Erin’s aunt Kim was the first Tasmanian woman to represent Australia, playing three Tests and nine ODIs between 1992 and 1996.
Given her pedigree, it’s not surprising Fazackerley ended up in cricket – although she also tried her hand at netball, tennis and soccer growing up, before settling on cricket as the game she was going to pursue at the elite level.
"I was playing all four sports at one stage so I was a bit busy," Fazackerley laughed.
"But in the end, while I enjoyed all sports, I was really loving cricket and I had better opportunities with that, so that ended up leading the way."
Fazackerley wasn’t born when her aunt played for Australia, but she says her relative is proving a valuable resource as the 20-year-old looks to forge her own path at the highest level.
"When I was younger she was living in Queensland but she’s been really helpful,” she said.
"In the last few years especially, I’ve done some bowling training with her that’s been really helpful, and it’s nice to have someone who knows a lot about cricket and who is easily accessible to learn from."
Participating in the NPS Program covers everything from fitness and skills to nutrition and developing leadership skills, and Fazackerley’s enthusiasm is infectious as she talks about training alongside Australian contracted players including Meg Lanning, Rachel Haynes and Megan Schutt in Brisbane.
"In the women’s game I look at Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning (to model my game on), so having the opportunity now to train with them, do sessions and get tips and just having them around is really cool,” she said.
"I actually got to use Meg Lanning’s bat the other day which was pretty cool, because mine was apparently too heavy."
As she prepares for another busy summer with the Tasmanian Tigers Women and WBBL Hobart Hurricanes, Fazackerley also hopes to put her best foot forward again should a chance arise to represent the Cricket Australia XI in a tour match against New Zealand, or again play for the Governor-General’s XI.
"I’m just hoping to get better at everything I can so it’s really cool that the Australian girls have been up here for us to learn from."
2018 Commonwealth Bank Women’s T20 International Series vs New Zealand:
Saturday 29 September 2018: First T20I – North Sydney Oval, Sydney (Night)
Monday 1 October 2018: Second T20I – Allan Border Field, Brisbane (Day)
Friday 5 October 2018: Third T20I – Manuka Oval, Canberra (Night)
2019 Commonwealth Bank Women’s One Day International Series vs New Zealand:
Friday 22 February 2019: First ODI – WACA Ground, Perth (Day)
Sunday 24 February 2019: Second ODI – Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide (Day)
Sunday 3 March 2019: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne (Day)