Rookie Sutherland, Molineux in Australia’s squad for T20 World Cup title defence

Annabel Sutherland is the only uncapped player in Australia's T20 World Cup squad. © Getty Images

Rookie teen Annabel Sutherland and Sophie Molineux on Thursday (January 16) were named in Australia’s squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 as well as for the tri-series featuring India and England preceding that. They replace Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani from the side that won the tournament in 2018 in West Indies.

Sutherland, the seam bowler, was included in the side after impressive outings for Australia A against India A earlier in the month. She picked up a wicket in each T20 match and was economical as well, while she also had six wickets to show in the one-dayers prior to that including a four-wicket haul and a half century with the bat. In the two recent Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) matches, she made a mark both with bat and ball for Victoria. Her presence adds weight to the defending champions’ already-strong pace department, that features the likes of Tayla Vlaeminck, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Delissa Kimmince and Nicola Carey.

“We’re really pleased for Annabel Sutherland, who has been playing domestic cricket for a few years now, as well as being a part of Australia A and Under-19 sides. She has progressed significantly over the past few months,” said Shawn Flegler, the national selector.

“Anyone who has seen her play will know how special a talent she is, and we know that if called upon she’ll be able to play a variety of roles in the side. This will be another terrific experience for someone who we see as the future of Australian Cricket.”

Molineux, who had taken a break during the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), was included after she made a comeback in the WNCL. Captain Meg Lanning had said that they would be monitoring the allrounder’s return to the circuit.

“It’s also really pleasing to welcome Sophie Molineux back into the side, having spent some time out of the game for mental health reasons and getting her shoulder right,” said Flegler. “She was part of the side that won the 2018 World Cup and is a multi-skilled player that offers us another left-arm spinning option alongside Jess Jonassen.”

Beth Mooney, who had an impressive WBBL, would be one of the key players in the batting department, which would be led by Lanning and vice-captain Rachael Haynes. Erin Burns, who missed some WNCL matches, was also selected after recovering from her knee injury.

“For most players this was one of the biggest selections of their career with not many people getting to play in a World Cup in front of a home crowd, but we’re really confident this squad can go out and defend its title and do Australia proud,” he said.

“We’ve had a really stable squad over the last few years and having players such as Molly Strano, Tahlia McGrath, Belinda Vakarewa and Heather Graham miss out illustrates the depth of Australian Cricket.”

These four players were named in the Tahlia McGrath-led Cricket Australia XI squad, that will play a T20 against Australia on January 27 at Sydney Showgrounds.

T20 World Cup Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes, Erin Burns,Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.

Cricket Australia XI: Tahlia McGrath (c), Stella Campbell, Hannah Darlington, Josie Dooley, Heather Graham, Charli Knott, Phoebe Litchfield, Bridget Patterson, Taneale Peschel, Belinda Vakarewa, Molly Strano.

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