Australia allrounder Erin Burns admitted that there were a few “butterflies” when captain Meg Lanning gave her the nod to bat No. 3 in the second T20I against Sri Lanka on Monday.
It was the first time Burns made it to the crease in her brief international career so far, but she responded with a confident 30 off 18 balls in Australia’s crushing nine-wicket win.
Prior to this series, Australia had indicated that they would try out various combinations to ensure as many players as possible were given the opportunity to perform, but being told you are replacing the captain – and one of the best in the world – can add to the pressure.
“When she [Lanning] tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was batting three, I tried to play it really cool and go ‘yeah, no worries’, but secretly I was getting a few butterflies in the stomach,” Burns said. “If she says do you want to bat three again, I certainly won’t say no. It was fantastic to get out there in the middle. It was my fourth T20I and the first time I’d been able to get out into the middle.”
Burns, who made her debut in the Caribbean last month, is now firmly in the mix for a spot at the T20 World Cup next year and has savoured the chance to play in front of home crowds after starting out many time zones away in the West Indies.
“I’m just taking it one step at a time. I had a couple of decent Big Bashes under my belt but you never really know,” she said of getting her chance at the highest level. “The girls have been so successful for so long, so it’s always hard to push your way into a winning team. You just try to take the opportunities when they come along and been fortunate enough to presented with those in the last couple of months and just really enjoying every moment.
“It’s been fantastic, it’s not something I necessarily through would be happening for me. To have your first tour in the Caribbean, surfing on your days off, is not too bad at all. It’s been like a fairytale the last couple of months and it’s been great to play a couple of games on home soil. I won’t forget my first games in West Indies, but to play at home is fantastic.”
The major reward on the horizon is the T20 World Cup final at the MCG but Burns, like the rest of the Australia squad, is trying not to let her mind drift. “It would be incredible to think I could possibly be there myself, it definitely crossed your mind from time to time but you try not to get too ahead of yourself. Put in a really good Big Bash season and see where that can take you.”
Australia play the final T20I against Sri Lanka on Wednesday at North Sydney Oval, which has been guaranteed an Australia women’s fixture – as well as four home games for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL – for at least the next four years. Australia have not lost at the ground since 2009 and have won all eight of their T20Is at the venue.