Keeping it in the Family – Sarah Coyte Joins Brothers in the Big Bash

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Like most sports-mad Australian kids, the Coytes spent hours playing backyard cricket.

On almost a daily basis, Sarah Coyte would bat and bowl against older brother, Scott, and twin Adam ­– both future domestic stars – in fiercely contested ‘10-wicket cricket’ matches.

And there was certainly no taking it easy – Sarah could handle herself, and the boys knew it.

“We were so competitive!” Sarah tells Sportette.

“There was plenty of backyard fighting, but always in good spirit. Scott, of course, was always batting and never out, so you can imagine what would have went on back then!”

Little did they know it, but those backyard battles would one day lead all three Coyte kids to compete in the sport’s elite twenty-over competition – the Big Bash League.

First, came Scott and Adam’s flirtation with the Big Bash – the pair both pulling on the ‘electric green’ of Sydney Thunder in the club’s formative years.

If the captain throws me the ball when a team is needing five or six off an over, or we need to stop the run rate, I like to think they’d give it to me.

Then when Sarah lined up for Adelaide in its rebel WBBL season opener against Hobart, she became the third Coyte family member to play in a BBL match.

As far as Big Bash hat-tricks go, they don’t come much rarer than the Coyte’s brother-sister act.

“To have the opportunity to be a part of this [WBBL] blueprint is really special,” says Sarah.

“Women’s cricket is at an exciting point – this WBBL just takes us to the next step.”

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Sarah playing backyard cricket with her brothers.

Coyte, who has represented Australia in all formats (Tests, ODI and T20) is undoubtedly one of the competition’s biggest draw cards.

A handy fast-bowling all-rounder, the 24-year-old has firmly established herself as one of one of the world’s premier T20 bowlers. And with good reason.

In 42 T20s for the Southern Stars, she has taken 46 wickets ­– including a match-winning 3/16 in the 2014 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 victory over England ­– at an impressive average of 19.56.

“I love a good pressure game. I feel I play my best cricket when I’m under pressure,” she says.

“If the captain throws me the ball when a team is needing five or six off an over, or we need to stop the run rate, I like to think they’d give it to me.”

But despite all her success on the international stage – and particularly the T20 arena – the quietly spoken Sarah admits preparing for the debut WBBL season has been one of the most difficult challenges she has faced.

After relocating from Sydney to Adelaide in search of new opportunities with South Australia and the Strikers, Sarah revealed she found it difficult leaving family and friends behind – in order to chase her cricketing dream.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Sarah Coyte of the Strikers bowls during the Women's Big Bash League match between the Brisbane Heat and the Adelaide Strikers at The Gabba on December 19, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

It led to her turning to a number of support groups – including not-for-profit organistation The Kindness Factory – to assist with her transition between cities and teams.

“To move from Sydney to Adelaide to join up with the Strikers has been a really big deal for me,” said Sarah.

“Kath Koschel (The Kindness Factory founder) has been a big part of my support network and one of the first I go to for help or advice. She keeps reminding me that I had to do what was best for me.”

Then there’s the physical aspect of WBBL cricket, where the majority of matches are played as double-headers ­– as well as some three-game fixtures, spaced across two days.

Sarah says the increased workload will test the majority of the league’s players.

“Backing up and playing two games, it’s intense cricket.”

“At the end of one game we’re buggered, let alone two. And to play two games in one day, then back-up again for another game the next day it’s a big ask,” says Sarah.

Still, she wouldn’t change her WBBL involvement for anything, labeling the competition the ideal platform to drive women’s cricket forward, and prove their matches are just as competitive and entertaining as the men’s.

“Our games are very exciting in a different way, and more often than not, they come down to the last ball or last overs.

Although we don’t clear the ropes as much as the men do, there’s a lot more tactical talk about how we’re going to go about the game.

Women’s cricket has been on the rise for a while, and for us, to have this opportunity we’re very excited and we’re hoping it will keep building the women’s game and attracting new viewers and girls wanting to play.”

 

The Strikers play the Scorchers at 2.10pm Thursday 31st December at Adelaide Oval or catch the action broadcast on OneHD.

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