VICTORIA stalwart Sarah Elliott is referred to as ''Sticks'' by her teammates due to her slender physique, though something like ''Lazarus'' might be more apt given her imminent return to top-level domestic cricket from giving birth.
''I'm not quite back from the dead,'' Elliott joked after arriving in Hobart for VicSpirit's looming round of matches against Tasmania. In tow was Samuel, the son she gave birth to on October 23.
The 30-year-old is, unsurprisingly, yet to represent Victoria this season. In the months before giving birth she maintained her fitness primarily by riding a stationary bike and swimming, until ''the belly got in the way''.
Once she learnt of her pregnancy she envisaged returning to club cricket within six weeks, a feat she achieved a fortnight ago for Dandenong.
Despite the greater-than-expected physical toll of playing again she emerged in good shape and emboldened to return to the VicSpirit line-up.
''I didn't expect it to take so much out of me. I was lucky that I could do a fair bit of stuff right through the pregnancy and start back pretty soon after. I was definitely feeling tentative in that first game, with the running and the energy [used] from breastfeeding. And the lack of sleep got to me,'' she said.
''It's not the best preparation, but in another way it's really good because it gives you another perspective, so you're a bit more relaxed about the whole playing thing as well.''
The regard the all-rounder is held in by national selectors was evident in their recent decision to name her in the preliminary squad of 30 for the 50-over World Cup to be held early next year in India.
Elliott will ease back into the VicSpirit team by just featuring in Friday's one-dayer against the Roar, with emerging all-rounder Anna Lanning replacing her in the squad for the Twenty20 matches on Saturday and Sunday.
SQUAD (from): Kelly Applebee (c), Emma Inglis (vc), Kristen Beams, Briana Binch, Jess Cameron, Sarah Elliott (WNCL only), Kath Hempenstall, Kirsty Lamb, Anna Lanning (T20 only), Meg Lanning, Emily McIntyre, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani.