As a child Alex Blackwell had a dream she hardly dared to believe was possible: to become a professional cricket player.
Not because she wasn’t talented – she had potential very early on – but because she didn’t see a pathway to become one.
For a young Alex growing up in the 1980s and ’90s, women’s cricket at a high level existed, but it wasn’t a full-time job.
Fast-forward a couple decades and the 34-year-old is now one of Australia’s best cricketers and has been able to make a living from her chosen sport alone for several years.
In October, Blackwell became the fourth woman ever to play 250 games for Australia - a significant achievement in the batsman's already sparkling career.
It's a milestone, she told Sky Australia journalist Kalika Mehta, that she didn't imagine she'd achieve.
"I probably didn't believe I would be a professional cricketer but I dreamed I would be," she said in November.
"I thought it would be wonderful to be able to train in the sunshine during the day, go home, have a good night's rest and come back and do it again the next day."
While pursuing cricket, the Sydney Thunder captain also focused on her education and built a career in medicine that allowed her to support herself for much of her career.
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In 2014, she was able to make the switch to focus on cricket full-time, when the first professional contracts for the Australian female players were introduced. While she was only taking home $15,000 per annum then, it was enough for her to support herself, thanks to her partner's salary.
"I felt like I owed it to [past female players] to really give it a shot. Many women would have given an arm and a leg to have that opportunity," she told Sky Australia. "I'm pleased I made that decision in 2014 because I've become a better cricketer since."
The rate of female cricketer's pay has only improved over the past few years, with players at all levels earning more, and international players making a decent living.
"I feel really privileged to be able to capitalise on all the work that has been done before me to get to me to the stage of being a professional cricketer," Blackwell said.