Abbey McLellan is a rookie by name, but certainly not by nature.
She has represented Victoria at multiple Australian Women’s Championships, with her most recent campaign in April yielding a .552 batting average, a team high 16 hits and a very handy OBP of .658.
A 16-year-old McLellan hit .444 for Victoria White at the 2011 Australian Women’s Championships, and since then she has become a constant offensive threat for every pitching staff she faces.
Seven years on from her breakout performance, McLellan has earned her first Australian Emeralds call-up.
She isn’t taking it for granted.
“There is no one on the team that is guaranteed to play every inning of every game,” McLellan says.
“I know I’m here for a reason and I want to make the most of my opportunities.
“I’m not really worried about the statistics, as long as my coaches and I can honestly say I gave it everything, I’ll be satisfied.”
Despite her inexperience at World Cup level, McLellan believes playing against some of the best players of this generation each and every week has prepared her for what’s to come in Florida.
“Being from Melbourne I have the opportunity to play with Bronwyn Gell and Shae Lillywhite, two of the best to ever do it,” she says. “It’s incredible to go away with them after playing with them week-to-week for the last couple of years.
“Their dedication to the program is incredible, and my self-confidence has increased as I’ve been able to perform and have success with them.”
The Emeralds’ 2018 World Cup campaign has involved one of the most detailed and professional preparations yet, and McLellan says it will hold the team in good stead.
“We’re quietly confident,” McLellan says.
“We have put a lot of effort into our game strategies, skills and we feel mentally and physically prepared.
“Our team dynamic is exceptional. A lot of motivation for on-field performance comes from off-field relationships, so I think the closer we are off the field impacts our performance on it.
“We have the motivation, and if we play to our potential there’s no reason why we can’t come back with something shiny around our necks.”