Sophie Molineux, the left-arm spinner, has been added to Australia’s Ashes squad for the one-off Test in Taunton set to begin on July 18.
Molineux joined the team for its first training session at Marlborough College, the venue for Australia’s three-day tour match against England Academy. The match will begin on Thursday (July 12).
The 21-year-old made her international debut in a T20I match against India in India in March 2018. She has since taken 15 wickets in 15 T20Is including a best of 4 for 16 against Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur. She has played only three ODIs and taken a total of six wickets.
Molineux played a crucial role in Australia’s title-winning Women’s T20 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean in November last year. Her returns were so prolific that she even kept the experienced Jess Jonassen on the bench through the course of the tournament. However, a shoulder reconstruction surgery shortly after the Women’s Big Bash League meant Molineux narrowly missed out on a berth in Australia’s original Ashes squad.
“Sophie Molineux was incredibly unlucky not to get past her fitness benchmarks,” Matthew Mott, head coach of Australia, recently told cricket.com.au. “Definitely Sophie over the last 12 months has been a really good acquisition for our team and if she gets fit she’ll put a pretty good case together (to make the Test squad).”
Earlier in the week, Mott had hinted at the possible inclusion of an extra spinner in the squad considering the surfaces on offer in England.
“We’ll have a look at the wicket in Taunton, our mail is it could take some spin so there’s always the opportunity to play an extra spinner as well,” said Mott. “Probably the most important thing is what that Test wicket is going to look like, we don’t have to add someone to the squad, but if there’s flexibility around it and there’s something we need we’ll certainly take that option.”
As a part of the Australia A squad that also travelled to England, Molineux has helped her team whitewash England Academy in the three-match one-day series that ended on Monday (July 7). She scored 75 runs and took three wickets in the series.
Going into the one-off Test, Australia hold a six-point advantage in the series, having won all the three one-day matches. A Test win is worth four points, but even a draw will ensure that Australia retain the Ashes. England, on the other hand, have to win in order to keep the series alive.
Australia’s squad for one-off Test: Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Meg Lanning, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham, Tayla Vlaeminck.