When Megan Schutt runs onto Adelaide Oval tomorrow afternoon, she will become the first female South Australian cricketer to represent Australia 200 times, emphatically cementing her place as an all-time great of the game.
The One Day International against South Africa will mark Schutt’s 88th ODI, which combined with four Tests and 108 T20I’s takes the right arm quick’s tally to the double century, making her just the sixth woman to reach this feat. Superstar Karen Rolton is the next most prolific South Australian, with a total of 170 fixtures in national colours, including a remarkable 141 ODI’s.
Since debuting on the international stage in 2012, Schutt has taken 260 wickets at a combined average of 20.64 and an incredible economy of 4.21. When added to 215 wickets in South Australian red and 136 more in Adelaide Strikers blue, Schutt is quite simply one of the greatest cricketers the southern state has ever produced.
Across a 15-year career to date, Schutt has won all there is to win, playing key roles in ODI and T20 World Cup victories, Ashes triumphs, back-to-back WBBL championships, a breakthrough WNCL title for South Australia and she even became the first woman to take two hat-tricks in international cricket. Such is the level of Schutt’s performances, she appears no less than four times in the prestigious Avenue of Honour at Adelaide Oval.
The South Australian Cricket Association extends its congratulations and thanks to Megan Schutt for her commitment to the game and the community over a magnificent career that shows no signs of slowing down. Megan is a role model for so many and a shining light in South Australia’s sporting history. A talented, hardworking cricketer and a kind and inspiring person, our state is blessed to call Megan one of our own.
Speaking ahead of the ODI, Meg Lanning, who captained Australia 178 times and threw the ball to the Schutt in many of those matches, was full of praise for all she has achieved both on and off the field.
“Megan has been an integral member of the Australian team for a long period of time,” Lanning said.
“On the field, you know what you're going to get which is someone very reliable and super competitive, which is pretty special to have.
"She's really the glue within the team because she gets on with everyone. She makes jokes at the right time and knows when to switch on and when to have fun, which I think is a pretty special trait to have. It is an amazing achievement to get to 200.”
Far from just an elite cricketer, Schutt is also known for her genuine care for those around her and a burning passion for her home state. For so long the lone South Australian representative on the national stage, she has played a huge role in the development of talent such as current Australian vice-captain Tahlia McGrath, emerging star Darcie Brown and dominant leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington.
“Megan’s contribution to South Australian cricket is immense and I know how much she loves playing for South Australia,” Lanning said.
“She always talks about it; you actually can't shut her up sometimes talking about it. It’s just the passion she has for the state and playing with that team, which is very clear for everyone to see.
“They're sort of taking over the team and a little bit now [the South Australian players] and something that she was always very good at is helping the younger players come in and making them feel comfortable and you can really see that within the Australian team. She brings the best out of others and that's pretty special.”
Much like an inswinger delivered by Schutt, tomorrow’s ODI has landed perfectly, giving her the chance to celebrate the milestone at Adelaide Oval in front of family and friends.
"[The milestone] makes me feel a little bit old to be honest, but it's pretty special. At game one, I didn't even expect to play that in my lifetime, it's a milestone I never thought I’d hit. So, to get to 200 is pretty darn cool and I think having it on Adelaide Oval is fate in itself and extremely special," Schutt said.
"We got to win a Big Bash here in front of a bunch of fans and my close family and friends and I just thought of how special that was, so to do it in Australian colours, it'll be really nice."
Lanning echoed that sentiment.
“It's the stuff you dream about and there's not a lot of method to it I guess, it just sort of happens where you play your milestone games and for her to be able to be here at Adelaide Oval, for her family and friends to come along and support is really very special to her and [wife and daughter] Jess and little Rylee as well," Lanning said.
Schutt had a chance to reflect on her career prior to her milestone match, explaining what keeps her going at the highest level, as well as her favourite moment as an Australian player.
"I love the game. It's a stupid game. And there's so much more failure than success, but I just love it. I love the people that are involved and it’s a game that keeps evolving as well. So, I keep striving to be better and being a fast bowler in a batters game is quite tough, but I like the challenge," Schutt said.
"The 2020 World Cup here in Australia [is my favourite moment]. I mean, 86,000 people the MCG, that was a real life changing moment for me and something I'll always remember."
The One Day International between Australia and South Africa begins at 2.10pm ACDT, with tickets available now.