The Sydney Sixers Women’s Head Coach. Ben Sawyer. He’s coming to Birmingham Phoenix's Women’s team. He reveals: The key to success. Tactical plans. And dream draft picks.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE HUNDRED?
Starting something brand new. I was lucky enough to be involved with the Sydney Sixers when they started in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). To start a new club, build a new team and a backroom staff is pretty cool.
YOU’VE WON THE WBBL TWICE. WHAT’S THE KEY?
With the batting everyone is going really hard and in women’s cricket the batting has gone way ahead and the batters dominate the competitions. I think the next step in women’s cricket is that the bowlers will bridge that gap. Our philosophy at the Sixers is to take 10 wickets. That doesn’t always happen but if you have that mentality and you’re trying to be aggressive then that is important.
CAN THE HUNDRED REPLICATE THE SUCCESS THE WBBL HAS HAD?
In the first Big Bash we played at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney. There’s an unbelievable photo of us playing in our first season and there were three people and a dog on the hill. Then for the final four years later we had 6,000 people and they had to close the doors. There were actually people hanging on to the fences outside to get in. It might not happen in the first year, it didn’t in the Big Bash, but The Hundred will gain legs.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN FOR THE TACTICAL TIMEOUT?
I think it will be about using it when you feel as though you need to shift momentum. I think it would be more about that than to use it as a tactic to get a message out.
WILL THE 10-BALL OPTION BE USEFUL?
That has been something I have been racking my brain about and how that will work. If someone has taken a few wickets early do you let them go again? I think that’s going to be a really interesting and cool part of this competition. That potential to bowl 10 balls back-to-back, the bowling coach within me thinks that’s really exciting.
DREAM MEN’S AND WOMEN’S DRAFT PICK?
Everyone expects me to say it but Ellyse Perry. She had an amazing Ashes and she has been amazing in the Big Bash. I think all teams will target an all-rounder and she’s the best all-rounder in the world. It would be amazing if we could sign her. From the men’s side I would pick Pat Cummins. He’s an amazing bowler who has fought back from adversity.
AND IF YOU COULD HAVE A NON-CRICKETING CELEBRITY, WHO WOULD IT BE?
This will probably get no-one through the door but I love country music so I would pick Luke Combes. The girls will get a laugh out of that, but I’d just love to meet him.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE COME TO THE HUNDRED?
It will be an occasion for families to enjoy. The teams will put on good entertainment around the ground and there will be great entertainment on the field. The kids are the key to it. If you can engage them then they drag mums and dads to games. My kids do that with the Big Bash matches now because they enjoy the atmosphere and I’m sure The Hundred will do the same.