One of Australia’s greatest ever female cricketers will end a 13-year association with her home State and instead don WA’s black and gold this summer.
Superstar opener Beth Mooney moved from the Brisbane Heat to the Perth Scorchers two seasons ago, and loved her time in orange so much, she has signed on to play for WA’s WNCL side as well — a welcome boost for a team which has just laboured through a COVID-impacted season on the road.
But the WBBL’s leading run-scorer won’t be making WA her home, instead travelling from Queensland to play amid commitments abroad, including England’s The Hundred.
“I just thought it was time for me to align my Big Bash club and my State organisation to the same place,” Mooney told The West Australian.
“I have just been really impressed with how they go about it and I’m looking forward to being a part of that organisation.
“Just working with the Perth Scorchers and everyone over there has been really exciting for me and something I am really proud of as well and proud to be a part of.
“Last season was a pretty special time to be associated with the Scorchers.
“I will feel completely the same about being associated with WA Cricket as well.”
Mooney says a relatively open international schedule could leave the door ajar for an extended run of WNCL games, having sat out the opening rounds of the tournament for Queensland last year to give herself a break from the sport.
“We might play a few more WNCL games than we have in the past couple of years which is really exciting, given I will be wearing the yellow and black,” she said.
The powerful left-handed opener debuted as a fresh-faced 16-year-old for the Fire, before carving out a stellar international career, averaging an even 50 from 54 ODIs, which includes one of Australia’s most famous ever innings — an unbeaten 85 to lead Australia to the 2019 World Cup title in front of a record crowd at the MCG.
She made her international debut deputising for Alyssa Healy with the gloves, before winning a spot of her own as a batter and partnering Healy at the top of the order.
The 28-year-old said she held some apprehension about leaving the organisation that had helped shape her career, but was ready to take a leap, and had been wrestling with the idea since first joining the Scorchers.
“Obviously when you have been somewhere for so long there is a little bit of trepidation in moving on and doing something different, but at the same time you don’t know what you don’t know either,” Mooney said.
“I had been weighing it up for a little while, it was just a matter of whether or not WA were willing to make it work a little bit with me being based in Brisbane and having lots of Australian commitments.
“It wasn’t in my best interests to pack up and move so I have been really overwhelmed and grateful for the support they have shown me allowing me to stay in Brisbane in my home and work with them about when I can be available in Perth throughout the season.”
She finished as the leading run-scorer in the Scorchers’ championship-winning campaign last summer, forming a formidable opening partnership with New Zealand legend and WBBL captain Sophie Devine.
She said while she saw herself becoming a leader in the group, which blooded a number of youngsters in its tough campaign last year, incumbent captain Chloe Piparo had her backing.
“There are always opportunities to be a leader whether you have a title next to your name or not,” Mooney said.
“I have probably realised that people can learn off experiences I have had playing cricket in Australia and around the world and if I can help other young girls coming through achieve some of the things I have in my career that will be pretty special for me as well.
“I have got a lot of respect and time for Chloe and I think she does an outstanding job in that role.
“Just being able to offer advice to Chloe and to my other teammates along the way will be plenty … WA have said they value what I can offer them there.”
Western Australia finished last summer’s campaign winless and dead last, but did get games into youngsters Molly Healy, Georgia Wyllie, Zoe Britcliffe and Maddy Darke.
It came after WA cricket legend Nicole Bolton gave the sport away suddenly on the eve of the last domestic season — a top-order hole Mooney will look to fill.
WA coach Shelley Nitschke has been poached as interim coach of the Australian team after Matthew Mott was appointed England’s newly-created white-ball coaching role.
Nitschke will take charge on an interim basis before a full-scale search for a permanent leader is conducted, but is likely to be in the running for the full-time position, in a similar vein to men’s coach Andrew McDonald.