Plenty Valley young gun Rhiann O’Donnell is looking to make the most of her opportunities this summer.
O’Donnell, 19, didn’t have the season she was hoping for with the Bats last season and didn’t expect any higher honours would be on the horizon.
The Victorian selectors had other ideas, picking her in the VicSpirit squad.
“It has been great,” she said. “I’m coming into the system at the right time.
“It was initially a bit of a surprise to be selected. The sport has become more professional. It’s so good to be in that environment and learning off players.”
More surprises were to come, with O’Donnell also named in the Melbourne Renegades Women’s Big Bash League squad.
She said that selection was the icing on the cake.
O’Donnell, who is yet to make her debut for either side, said she was looking to take in as much as possible.
She said even watching the opening round of the WBBL she had noticed the level of cricket had gone up.
“I think for me, it’s just about learning and trying to tick all the right boxes,” she said.
“I want to develop my game as much as possible. There’s players such as Molly Strano, Meg Lanning and Kristen Beams.
“And the WBBL, you’ve got the internationals. It’s such a good environment.
“I’m being a sponge and soaking it all in and I want to lift my game to their level.”
Playing cricket is something that O’Donnell has enjoyed since picking up the bat as a child living in Mildura.
She was part of the pathways program and moved full-time to Melbourne 18 months ago after spending several years travelling back and forth.
Now one of the more experienced players of the Bats line-up, O’Donnell is trying to impart some of her new-found knowledge on her teammates.
The Bats are sixth in the Victoria Premier Cricket one-day competition and fifth in the T20 competition .
“Adam [Drinkwell, Bats coach] has been brilliant and just what we needed,” O’Donnell said. “We haven’t got off to the start we would have liked. We’ve ticked a lot of boxes in the 50 over games. Hopefully there’s a few more good results coming our way.”
O’Donnell is one of two Bats players in the VicSpirit and Renegades squads – the injured Tayla Vlaeminck was also selected.