Sophie Molineux will miss Australia’s cricket World Cup campaign with fellow spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington earning a long-awaited international recall.
Molineux was expected to return from a foot stress fracture for the ODI World Cup in New Zealand starting in March, but was missing from Australia’s squad announced on Wednesday.
Wellington was instead named as part of the 15-woman group, after being controversially overlooked for the Ashes series.
The legspinner has not played for Australia since 2018, but was the leading wicket-taker in this summer’s WBBL with 22 at a 15.72.
She also took record figures of 5-8 in the semi-final, before Alana King claimed the spot in Australia’s Ashes squad with Georgia Wareham out for an extended period.
Both Wellington and King were named for the ODI World Cup tournament on Thursday, with selectors taking three front-line spinners to New Zealand and veteran Jess Jonassen a fixture in the side.
“Amanda-Jade provides us with another quality spin option and has the potential to play an important role spinning the ball away from the bat,” chief selector Shawn Flegler said.
“Leg-spin has been a big part of our success in recent years and ,while Alana King is currently doing that role for us, there’s no reason we couldn’t play both in the same team if conditions and match-ups suit.
“Sophie Molineux unfortunately misses out due to injury; she was unlikely to be available until the back-end of the tournament.
“With limited match time and having to complete 10 days managed isolation, it was a tough call, but we weren’t prepared to take the risk.”
Hard-hitting Queenslander Grace Harris also earned a recall, after last playing an ODI for Australia in 2016.
She returned to Australia’s group for the Twenty20 component of the Ashes last week, but did not bat or bowl with the last two games washed out.
It comes after Australia’s hopes of reclaiming the trophy took a hit over the weekend, with speedster Tayla Vlaeminck ruled out with a foot injury.
Fellow quick Darcie Brown has therefore been picked in the squad, and will feature in Australia’s best XI, taking the new ball with Megan Schutt.
Hannah Darlington and Georgia Redmayne will travel with the team as reserves.
Australia will depart for 10 days of quarantine in New Zealand at the end of the Ashes next month, with any players COVID-positive at that point unable to play in the tournament.
Elyse Villani, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Molly Strano and Heather Graham will stay with the team until the end of the Ashes to cover for last-minute withdrawals.
AUSTRALIA SQUAD FOR ODI WORLD CUP:-
Meg Lanning (capt), Darcie Brown, Nic Carey, Ash Gardner, Grace Harris, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington.