Mission domination: Australia. © CA DIGITAL (Cricket Australia)

In-form Australia do not want to leave a single stone unturned in the build up to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 to be played at home. Despite some incredibly dominant performances on their tour of the West Indies, Matthew Mott, the head coach, said his team will continue to tinker with their combination in the T20Is against Sri Lanka as they search for the ‘perfect’ combination.

“We’ve still got some tinkering to do,” said Mott, following the final T20I against West Indies in Barbados. “We’ll tinker a bit in the T20s against Sri Lanka with that batting order and make sure we get the right formula with a big year heading into the T20 World Cup.” 

Mott expressed his delight with the bowling department. Through the course of the T20I series, not once did the bowlers allow West Indies off the hook. They stuck to their plans, were consistent in the areas they hit and always delivered when called on to break a partnership. Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen were particularly impressive – both tying down the runs and picking up crucial wickets.

“I’m really happy with the way the bowing unit is going. There’s been some great changes there, even seeing Megan Schutt trying new things like coming around the wicket to the left-handers, stuff like that, is fantastic. Our batting got better each game, our first chase wasn’t our best but the last two we did it in style.”

With the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka set to begin on September 29, Mott said the selectors are likely to largely stick to the 14-member squad that traveled to West Indies. However, he did mention that performances of players through the first round of the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) – Australia’s domestic one-day tournament – will be noted ahead of the squad announcement on Wednesday (September 25).

“It’ll (the squad) be pretty close to what we’ve got here, the main changes will be in batting orders and stuff like that,” Mott said. “We’ve got a strong nucleus of players here who we’ve earmarked to take into the World Cup.”

“There’s a WNCL round which is a good opportunity for other players to put their hand up and show what they can do, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be staying close to this 14.”

Notable absentees from the Caribbean tour were allrounder Sophie Molineux and opener Nicole Bolton. Molineux, who is nursing her shoulder injury, had made a comeback during the Ashes but rested for the series against West Indies. She will not be taking part in the first round of the WNCL either to focus completely on her shoulder rehabilitation. The team will continue to monitor her progress and make sure she is full fit before bringing her back into the swing of things. 

Bolton, on the other hand, had made herself unavailable for the tour, to focus on her mental health.  The left-hander turned out for Western Australia in their first match of the WNCL, scoring a match-winning half-century to mark her return. Whether she will make the cut for the ODI squad remains to be seen.

“We’ve had good reports from Soph, she’s going well. She’s probably still a couple of weeks’ away yet but she’s ticking a lot of boxes and starting to get back into the swing of cricket things. We’ve been really cautious with her, we didn’t want to rush her especially with a World Cup coming up,” Mott added.

“Bolts and I have been in touch via WhatsApp and she’s in a really good frame of mind and looking forward to the first round of the WNCL. For her it’s just about re-entering and getting back into the swing of things and hopefully scoring some runs, but she seems really happy which is great,” he concluded.

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