Finding the ideal pace as a spinner in Hamilton was challenging: Jess Jonassen

Women's CricZone Staff
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'Relaxed' Jonassen on the cusp of a special milestone

Jonassen celebrates a wicket with her teammates. © Getty Images

Masks on our face, maintaining social distancing, staying indoors as much as possible etc. have become routine in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. But how does it feel to finally be in a country that has got rid of the disease and roam freely?

“We were very, very excited to get out and about and have dinner at a restaurant. I think a few of us were a little bit unsure of how to socialize again in outdoor settings and we felt a bit naked without having to have a mask on as soon as we even our door. Didn’t really take too much time to adjust, which was nice,” said Jess Jonassen.

The left-arm spinner from Australia was addressing the media on Monday (March 29) ahead of their second T20I against New Zealand on Tuesday. Jonassen returned three for 26 in the first T20I, which the tourists won by six wickets.

“It was nice. It was really pleasing to contribute with a few wickets, particularly getting Sophie Devine when we did as well,” she said. “She was looking pretty threatening early. To get her early when we did was very crucial and I was really relishing the opportunity to be back out there to be playing cricket for Australia again.

Jonassen said that identifying the right pace to bowl at the Seddon Park in Hamilton was a challenge and was glad to have figured out a way to bowl to the Kiwi batters.

“The pace of the wicket, compared to the Australian conditions, were slightly slower,” said Jonassen, who got rid of Devine and her opening partner Hayley Jensen in the same over. “Watching the (New Zealand-Bangladesh) men’s game prior, it seemed like as a spinner when you took a little bit of pace off, you actually got something out of the wicket, whereas if you went pace on it slid on nicely on to the bat.”

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New Zealand were inserted in and, after the two quick wickets at the start, were well placed at two for 93 with five overs to go, when Amy Satterthwaite holed out. Then came a phase when the hosts lost three wickets for just four runs to be reduced to five for 97. Jonassen managed to trap Katey Martin plumb in front.

“It was a little bit challenging at times figuring out that ideal pace. But we were able to execute that and Georgia Wareham was exceptional only going at four & a half an over as well.”

Before travelling with the squad to New Zealand, Jonassen led Queensland in the Women’s National Cricket League, picking nine wickets and scoring 120 in the three innings she batted. Though she couldn’t be part of the side’s first-ever title win, the tall spinner was chuffed with how Queensland played in the season.

“Obviously (I am) very proud, very stoked for them… the very first title for Queensland Fire. A bit gutted that I couldn’t be there to experience it with them having put in a lot of years into Queensland player programme,” she said.

“(I am) very excited for the girls that they’ve worked extremely hard, not only this season but in the years prior. To see the excitement and the joy on their faces to finally achieve a result we’ve been looking for very, very, very long time.. really just pleasing.”

“It’s also nice knowing that along the way we didn’t necessarily play our best cricket at different times. So to know that there’s still a lot of improvement left there. Hopefully the next season we can do the back to back and put some solid performances out there particularly against some of the perceived stronger sides when everybody from the Australian side is back there as well.”

Queensland had beaten the Elyse Villani-led Victoria in the final of the tournament, thanks to captain Georgia Redmayne’s superb ton. Beth Mooney and Jonassen, both of whom play for Queensland, were a part of the celebrations after the win.

“Beth Mooney and I were out for dinner with a few of the other Aussie girls when we each got a facetime call from some of the Queensland girls. They were in the changing rooms, ready to sing the team song. We got to be a part of that which is very special. After that things got a little bit rowdy, so we let them be,” Jonassen concluded.