Sophie Molineux believes rise of young quick bowlers will help women's cricket

Sophie Molineux believes rise of young quick bowlers will help women's cricket

Sophie Molineux with Australian teammates © Getty Images

In the absence of top-ranked ODI bowlers, Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt and uncharacteristically wayward Ellyse Perry, Australia’s young quicks stood up to the challenge against India in the first ODI. Australia’s spinner, Sophie Molineux was all praise for Darcie Brown and Hannah Darlington as they took six out of eight Indian wickets.

“It was great to see Darcie Brown at the start. Just coming in and bowl as quick as she can and it was great that she could pick up a few wickets,” she said in a media interaction ahead of the second ODI on Thursday (September 23).

“I think this is one of the biggest squads I have been part of, and a lot of them are young quicks. It has been great in the nets. They have been given the reigns to be able to rip in and bowl short and try to scare the opposition batters, which is great for women’s cricket.”

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Molineux, who came back into the ODI playing XI after a long hiatus of 11 months, took two wickets in the match including that of Indian captain Mithali Raj. Reflecting on the wicket of India’s highest run-scorer in the match Molineux said the plan of the spinning group was not to overcomplicate and keep it simple. 

“Mithali was really smart with the angles she was hitting. She was picking the right ball to hit. She is a bit of a rock for them and we knew she was going to do that. I think, as a spinning group, our overall plan is to not overcomplicate and not go searching, especially in the one-day cricket. There was a bit of wind out there and the odd one spun and (I was) lucky that (wicket delivery) got past her.”

Conditions at The Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay were slightly different for Australia, as they played their first-ever ODI at the Arena. Molineux admitted that the conditions were different to what the team is used to. “Normally the ball gets chewed up because the grounds are too hard and there is less grass on the pitch than what there is here. Both new balls stayed new throughout the innings and I think that showed Hannah Darlington was still swinging the ball in the 40th over which was pretty different to what we are used to.”

With the introduction of the pink-ball Test against India and the Ashes Test against England in January, Australia will play two tests in four months. The cricket season for the team will continue till April with ODI World Cup in New Zealand starting on March 4. Molineux believes this long season will test the fitness of the team and they have worked on that during the off-season.

“In the off-season, we knew there are two Tests in the calendar. More importantly, it’s going to be the long cricket season. We are starting now and go till the end of April. Early in pre-season, we tried to get that fitness levels up. I was bowling with Georgia (Wareham) in the pre-season and I think, we are ready for the summer of cricket.”

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Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), recently announced the amendments to the Laws of Cricket to use the gender-neutral terms “batter” and “batters”, rather than “batsman” or “batsmen”. Molineux praised the decision by the MCC.

“Australian Cricket kind of led the way a few years ago (when we) became the Australian Men’s team and Australian Women’s team. These little things are heading in the right direction and it’s nice that MCC could jump on that train. It’s heading in the right direction for being a sport for all,” she concluded.