I’ve been involved in cricket since I was 13.

Living in Warwick, my Dad used to drive me from Warwick to Brisbane twice a week, which is a four hour round trip and he did that for close to 6 years.

Through that period, I really became exposed to the sport, earning representative honours with Queensland in 2006 and then national team in 2008.

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I’ve always said though… sport isn’t necessarily for everyone. And for me, at the time, while that desire to play cricket still burned brightly, the pressures of performing were certainly beginning to weigh heavily on me.

As is the story for most athletes, I’ve always been accustomed to pressure, because most of that is pressure I put on myself.

By the time I finally had a chance to reflect on my debut with the Southern Stars in 2008, I guess I just got to a point where that was overshadowing what I had achieved.

I began to hate the game… hate being there out on that field, and simply was not enjoying it anymore.

I knew I needed to make a significant change in my life.

It was one of the hardest decisions to make, but more because I was afraid of what my Dad would say.

He had spent so much time and effort, driving me from Warwick to Brisbane, and back, for all those training sessions and games, and in many ways has always been my coach as well as my Dad.

Walking away from cricket I could handle… but breaking the news to him, was something I fret over for weeks on end.

But I needed time away… Dad completely understood, and supported my decision 100%. If anything, he encouraged it, as he could already see the toll it was taking on me.

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So not too long after the 2009 World Cup, I announced publicly that I would be stepping down from cricket indefinitely.

Most people probably thought that I would only be away from six months, tops.

Never did they expect to not see me again for the next four years.

Initially I didn’t play any cricket at all. In actual fact, I went back and I started playing soccer back in Brisbane just to try and make a new friends group because all I knew was the friends I had made through cricket.

By 2011, I literally applied for a visa to go to the UK for a working holiday and got approved.

A month later, I was working in a pub in central London, thinking “What the hell are you doing Delissa!”.

But it was so much fun. I hadn’t a care in the world and I was simply living my best life!

Of course, just like back home, there wasn’t a single Londoner that didn’t enjoy talking cricket. And when they learned of my background in the sport, many would want to talk for hours on end.

But it was lovely and I started to enjoy chatting about cricket again!

It wasn’t long before one of the locals convinced me to start playing some local cricket in the area.

I didn’t train or anything, I just popped on over and signed up like all the other girls.

I didn’t have the pressures hanging over me…. I could just walk up to the games and just play the game and have fun.

I think sometimes when you get to the professional arena when you’re training all day, every day and then go out and play without taking wickets, or scoring runs, and you start to think – What am I doing? Am I wasting my time?

Because cricket is one of those games that you over-complicate and over-think.

In hindsight, those four years away from the game helped me recapture what I had been missing for so long.

I don’t want to say the “love of the game”… rather just the perspective to perform at my best again.

The biggest thing I learned was just to enjoy and have fun.

At the end of the day, it is just a game and I think regardless if you’re playing park cricket, club cricket, social cricket or for Australia it’s still just a game that you’re meant to enjoy.

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It comes with the added pressures of it being our job now, but if you take away the fun element of it, you don’t enjoy it and you don’t play well.

And I think that’s probably the biggest thing I have taken away from it is just when you enjoy it, you actually perform better as well.

Of course, the support I had from my parents during that that time was pivotal.

Dad’s a meat worker, and I remember he would be up at 4:00am most mornings off to work and then on a Tuesday he’d knock off early at lunch time and come and grab me from home and drive me down to Brisbane.

Sometimes we wouldn’t be getting home until 10:00pm at night and then he’s back up at 4:00am off to work.

It’s funny, because Mum used to get up early and make our lunches and pack everything and Dad and I would jump in the car and off we’d go.

Dad not only made all those sacrifices as a kid, but also ensured there was never any pressure coming from him onto us.

He never pushed us into it. I’ve got two brothers; one older and one younger and he never forced us to play any sport.

He just always said “I’ve played every sport under the sun and done everything, so you do what makes you happy”.

And even though his work roster was so hectic, I think he loved seeing us happy and coincidentally sport did that for us.

They just gave me all the opportunities that were possibly there for me to do well in whatever it is I chose, and it was the same thing with my brothers.

My brothers would always say that I’m my parent’s favourite child and got all the attention because I was going places haha!

I know it means a lot to Dad now to see me to be back in the green and gold. He constantly just tells me to just go out and enjoy it.

Just have fun. That’s what its all about.