Young gun Faltum making her mark for Australia | Cricket Australia

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Young gun Faltum making her mark for Australia

April 18, 2018

Australia Under 19s 'keeper Nicole Faltum whips off the bails playing for the Melbourne Stars // Getty

By Dylan Carmody

Nicole Faltum's reputation as one of Australia's young stars continues to grow.

Faltum is one of 14 members of the historic Australia Under 19 squad currently touring South Africa, the first time Australia has fielded a female Under 19 team since 2003, and the first time a female Under 19 team has toured overseas.

One of four Victorians in the touring party alongside Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham and Annabel Sutherland, the Melbourne Stars and VicSpirit keeper-batter is relishing the opportunity to represent her country.

“Playing for your country, I think that’s an amazing opportunity in itself,” Faltum said.

“But hopefully (I can) show my skills and play against some of the best under-19 girls in the world.

“I’m just looking to improve, to play against some of the best girls in the world and showcase my skills. (I want to) learn lots from the coaches, learn heaps and heaps and improve my game.”

Faltum is one of four possible wicket-keepers in the squad, but has taken the gloves in the first two games of the series.

It’s not surprising, given the Gippsland region product has had a breakout year behind the stumps for the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL competition and also earned a VicSpirit debut.

In game one, Faltum snared two catches and a stumping to go with an unbeaten 16 in a tight win against England Women’s Academy.

“I like to see myself as someone who drives lots of energy in the field,” Faltum said.

“Good talk and bringing lots of energy with the gloves, and then hopefully play my role, whatever that is, with the bat.

“It was full on (this season). “It was my first contract this year, and I made my debut for each of those teams (VicSpirit and Stars) which was really exciting.

“I didn’t really expect it to be honest. I loved training with the VicSpirit, that was all new to me, training pretty much three-four times a week.

"Then Big Bash, two months of full-on T20 cricket which was amazing.

“I absolutely loved it.”

The challenges of playing state cricket on a full-time contract are one thing, but Faltum also had to work around an entirely different schedule to most other professional cricketers - school, and regular travel to Melbourne from Moe in regional Victoria.

This year, the 18-year-old will juggle her all-important Year 12 studies with trying to pursue her cricket career.

“Last year school was really good with it,” Faltum said, of balancing study and sport.

“When I had free periods at school and things like that I’d go down to training and sometimes after school as well.”

“I’m really lucky to have really supportive parents who drive me everywhere, the two-hour hike to go to training and things like that.”

“Sophie Molineux has a house (in Melbourne) and I’m quite good friends with her as well as Tayla (Vlaeminck) and Georgia (Wareham), so I stayed down with them a fair bit as well which made it a lot easier if we had back-to-back days and things like that, so my teammates were really good.”

Australia’s next match will be against the England Women’s Academy on Wednesday, ahead of South Africa Emerging Women on Friday.