It was only in May that the teenage pace bowler had surgery on her shoulder, ruling her out of the World Cup and setting her a huge rehabilitation task to be fit for the October series.
It hasn’t been easy either, but a determined commitment in the gym has pulled her through all of that and opened the door for her to make her way back into the Australia fold.
“It’s crazy. I didn’t really think six months ago that I’d be ready for the first WNCL round and here I am in the Ashes set-up,” Cheatle said.
“It’s been a little tricky. It’s been about six months since my operation and I spent a lot of the time in the gym at the start.
Cheatle has joined the Sixers this WBBL season to work closer with coach Ben Sawyer.Source:Supplied
“I guess it’s kind of a silver lining, I got a lot stronger and my bowling is hopefully going to be better in the long term.”
The support of her mother post-op helped her through a lonely couple of months during which she wasn’t allowed any activity. Then Cheatle worked closely with the team at Cricket NSW that led to a rapid, and effective, recovery.
The addition of the left arm quick to the Ashes squad gives the Aussie bowling attack more options as they face the challenge of dismantling an England side fresh off a World Cup victory and boasting some of the best batters in the world.
“Particularly from a pure cricket point of view, having a left hand pace bowler in the team is really great for variety and balance in the attack,” said fellow seamer Ellyse Perry.
Australia were hurt by a couple of big innings from batters during the World Cup. India’s Harmanpreet Kaur almost single-handedly defeating them in the semi-final. Pic: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“She’s got a really unique set of skills that are aggressive and attacking and pose a threat to opposition. She’s got the potential to take a lot of wickets.
“It’s nice to have something like that up your sleeve. She’s fresh, and young and exciting and brings plenty of enthusiasm as well.”
Perry said the closeness of July’s World Cup being played to this Ashes helps them size up England with a “blueprint of how they want to play”, but Cheatle didn’t miss her chance to study either.
Nat Sciver is a player the Aussies need to contain throughout the Ashes. Pic: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The CA contracted youngster watched all of Australia’s World Cup matches and picked up a few ideas, especially when England snatched victory during the group stage.
“Watching on TV and listening to commentators and you can see everything from a bird’s eye view,” Cheatle said.
“When the girls played against England, they lost that game, you pick up as a bowler things from batters — what they like, what they don’t like — and try to figure out plans for myself coming in to this Ashes series.
“Sarah Taylor is a world class batter at the top order and she’s shown that she can take on any bowling side, so she’s one we really need to get out early.
“Nat Sciver can take a game away from anyone … As a whole side, they’re strong, they won the World Cup, so we’re not taking any of them lightly and we’ve got a lot of planning coming in to the series.”