Prior to the matches on her first Australian tour of New Zealand getting underway, Hannah Darlington has drawn parallels between a really tough pre-season last winter and the benefits of coupling the career of an elite athlete with studying part-time.
The 19-year-old has had a longing for marine life and a dream of being an underwater photographer, with the first-year subjects of her Bachelor of Marine Science degree aiding her focus in the winter months before her second successive breakout WBBL season.
“As a kid I always wanted to do either nutrition science or marine science. I then had an experience at a marine park where I saw a shark be rehabilitated and that was my lightbulb moment to say yep, this is the direction I want to go.”
“Having something I’m passionate about to take my mind off cricket and keep me focused until training or game time has been really beneficial.
Hannah won the Alex Blackwell Medal as the Sydney Thunder’s WBBL Player of the Season in 2019 and took her game to a new level last season to earn her first-ever Australian call-up, though she never could have imagined her debut tour would be during a pandemic.
“I hadn’t really thought about what my first tour would be like, it hadn’t really been on my radar, but as soon as I heard two weeks quarantine it was a bit of a shock.
“I wouldn’t change anything though, to be on tour with this team, two weeks quarantine is something I’d do any day.”
Study has helped Hannah get through the quarantine part of the tour and although the squad has been resigned to their Christchurch hotel rooms outside of training, the teenager has already got plenty out of the trip.
“Being around the team for the centre wicket practices we’ve had has been awesome but I’m really excited to see how the best team in the world plays a series.
“I’m also excited about watching from within the group and seeing how they go about preparing for their games will be the biggest learning point for me.”