Hotel quarantine ends Molineux's WC hopes

Scott BaileyAAP
Amanda-Jade Wellington (r) has been recalled to Australia's squad for the World Cup in New Zealand.
Camera IconAmanda-Jade Wellington (r) has been recalled to Australia's squad for the World Cup in New Zealand. Credit: AAP

New Zealand's strict border rules have ended Sophie Molineux's cricket World Cup hopes, with Amanda-Jade Wellington earning an international recall in her place.

The finger-spinning allrounder was expected to return from a foot stress fracture for the ODI World Cup starting in March, but selectors made the call to leave her out of the squad.

It came with countries having limited spots in quarantine for the tournament, with only one entry date per team and 10 days in hotel isolation on arrival.

Molineux would have missed the start of the tournament with Australia, with the difficulty flying players over leaving selectors hesitant on picking injured stars.

There were also fears the 10 days in hotel quarantine in training would have further pushed back her return date, leaving at bigger risk of missing the majority of the tournament.

"We left it to the last moment, it was touch and go," chief selector Shawn Flegler said.

"There is 10 days in quarantine when we can't train.

"For Soph to continue rehab and getting the work she needed, that was always a consideration we took into account.

"That made it tougher for her. It wouldn't have been fair on her."

Wellington's call-up is meanwhile a reward for persistence.

The legspinner last played for Australia in 2018 before being dropped for Georgia Wareham, and even took a break out for mental reasons last summer.

She returned this year to be the leading wicket-taker in the WBBL, taking 5-8 in a semi-final after admitting to AAP she had stopped thinking about Australian selection.

Overlooked for the Ashes squad with Alana King the preferred option for the injured Wareham, the 25-year-old has taken six wickets at an average of 10 against England A.

"She's always been in our thinking," Flegler said.

"She is a fantastic bowler, that is why we picked her in the first place a few years ago.

"She is in the squad now, it doesn't mean she is in the team now. But if conditions suit or match-ups suit, then we will look to play her."

Molineux's injury makes her the third bowler sidelined along with Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck.

Selectors opted not to try to replace Vlaeminck with another out-and-out quick, instead putting more responsibility on Darcie Brown and Annabel Sutherland.

Hard-hitting Queenslander Grace Harris also earned a recall, after last playing an ODI for Australia in 2016 and now another finger-spinning option if required.

Hannah Darlington and Georgia Redmayne will act as reserves, while Elyse Villani, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Molly Strano and Heather Graham will stay with the team until departure in case of COVID cases.

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.

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