By Nick Creely
The Australian women’s cricket team is set to have a distinctly local flavour to it as international cricket prepares for its return in late September, with Sophie Molineux and superstar Ellyse Perry named in an 18-player squad for an upcoming series against New Zealand.
The pair – who are listed for Dandenong in the Victorian Premier Cricket competition – are expected to play a big part in the series against the White Ferns, with the three Twenty20s and three One Day Internationals set to be the first played since the world champions played in front of 86,174 people at the MCG on 8 March, prior to Covid-19’s lockdowns around the world.
Incredibly, Australia has won 18 ODIs in a row and has a chance to equal the world record for consecutive ODI wins held by Ricky Ponting’s men’s team of 2003.
Perry – who is a global icon in women’s cricket in what has been a remarkable career – has been included in the squad despite undergoing hamstring surgery in March, and has been able to progress in her rehabilition process despite Melbourne’s Stage 4 restrictions.
The superstar all-rounder, who will be hoping at some stage to make her club debut for Dandenong, has an imposing international record, which includes a double-century against England in an Ashes clash in Sydney last year.
National selector Shawn Flegler told cricket.com.au that Perry was right in the mix to be ready and raring to go come next month.
“Ellyse is progressing well from a significant hamstring injury and we want to give her every chance to be available for selection,” he said.
“So we’ll continue to monitor her progress over the coming weeks.”
Exciting Bairnsdale product Molineux – who has risen through the ranks at Dandenong since joining as a teenager in 2013/14 to become a domestic star – will be hoping to lock down a spot in the Australian side after promising performances to date.
The 22-year-old – who has taken 21 wickets from 21 Twenty20 internationals, four wickets from a single Test match, and six wickets from three ODIs – was impressive in the 8 March clash at the MCG, snaring 1/21 in the Aussies’ dominant win over India.
With the matches scheduled to be played in New South Wales and Queensland, Cricket Australia said in a statement that it will work with revelvant authorities to ensure cricket can be played.
“The schedule for the series has matches in both New South Wales and Queensland but given the current Covid situation changes may be required. Cricket Australia will continue to work with relevant authorities and advise any changes,” the statement read.