Tennis Former tennis starlet Ashleigh Barty switches to cricket

Ashleigh Barty has taken up cricket, signing a contract to play for Brisbane Heat in the inaugural women's Twenty20 competition in Australia.

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Former tennis rising star Ashleigh Barty has taken up cricket, signing a contract to play for Brisbane Heat in the inaugural women's Twenty20 competition in Australia.

Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) franchise the Heat confirmed Barty's contract on Wednesday.

Barty, 19, surprised the tennis world when she decided to take an indefinite break from the sport following her elimination from the US Open in 2014, having reached a career-high WTA ranking of world number 129.

The Australian teenager, who turned professional in 2010, also made a name for herself in doubles, a runner-up at the Australian and French Open finals in 2013, as well as the Wimbledon in the same year, but she will now try to forge a career in cricket.

"The girls and Andy and the coaches have been brilliant at helping out, as I was basically starting from scratch,'' said Barty, who scored 63 from 60 deliveries in Brisbane Women"s Premier Cricket competition last week.

"I'd played cricket in the backyard and mucking around at school but this was a big challenge.

"Getting the basics right has been the focus since I started to train. I am obviously still learning but being part of a team is something I really was keen to experience and I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me with that."

The WBBL gets underway in December.

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