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Molineux living her dream

22 February 2018

Victoria and Renegades allrounder Sophie Molineux can't quite believe she's been called up for Australia, the latest step in her meteoric rise.

 

Victoria allrounder Sophie Molineux is still pinching herself after being selected in Australia's ODI and T20 squads for next month's tour of India.

If chief selector Shawn Flegler hadn't shared the happy news in person, she might still be wondering if it was, in fact, all a dream.

"It still hasn't really set in to be honest, I still have to pinch myself," Molineux said in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"I was speaking to Flegs and said, 'are you kidding?' and he said 'nah, it's real'.

"It's a dream come true, it's something I've grown up striving for and a lot of my family and friends back home are really proud which makes it all worth it."

Not that her selection came as a surprise to those who have been following the meteoric rise for the 20-year-old from Bairnsdale in eastern Victoria. Ever since Molineux was tearing it up in underage competitions, it seemed inevitable that she would end up wearing green and gold, and probably sooner rather than later.

Molineux, who bats in the top order and bowls left-arm orthodox spin, is just one year out of high school but has already represented Australia A and taken on England in Ashes tour matches.

The signs Molineux was destined for big things were there early in his cricketing career; she took 7-0 in a primary school game as a 12-year-old, while at 16 she made her men's A grade club debut and was named captain of Victoria's under-18s.

In January 2017, she became the inaugural winner of the Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year Award at AB Medal Night.

After completing her high school studies, Molineux relocated to Melbourne at the end of 2016 and spent her first full pre-season with VicSpirit, ensuring the 2017-18 summer was her best prepared yet.

She was then named in Cricket Australia's inaugural Women's National Performance Squad in the lead-up to the summer, giving her the chance to train with the Australians as they prepared for the Ashes last October.

Molineux even got a close-up look at one of Australia's upcoming T20I tri-series rivals, England, when she lined up in a CA XI for several practice matches against the Ashes tourists.

"I continually have to pinch myself, I'm so lucky to be doing what I'm doing, playing cricket professionally now and living my dream," she said.

"I'm very lucky and I'm looking forward to what's to come."

 

At the start of this summer, Australia's current contracted players were asked to name the 'next big thing' to watch this summer. Molineux's name was the one that cropped up time and time again.

They weren't wrong; earlier this month, she claimed the Rebel Young Gun award for her performances throughout WBBL|03, while she was Victoria's leading run-scorer in the WNCL.

"The Big Bash and the WNCL were such strong competitions for me to get opportunities there and spend time out in the middle and in the field, which should set me up for a good tour," Molineux said.

"I just want to try and keep backing myself and whatever happens, happens."

Molineux, who rates former Australia and Victoria star Sarah Elliot as the player she looks up to, is looking forward to working closely with fellow left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen while in India.

"I think (being with the Australian squad) will help immensely, I'm going to try and be a sponge and soak it all up there," she said.

"Being on tour with the likes of Meg, Ellyse, it will be invaluable experience and something I'm really looking forward to."

Australia depart for India on March 3, with the first of their three ODIs to be played in Vadodara on March 12.

Australia tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington

Australia T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington

Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 8

Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 6

ODI series

First ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 12

Second ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 15

Third ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 18

T20I tri-series

First T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 22

Second T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 23

Third T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 25

Fourth T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, March 26

Fifth T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 28

Sixth T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 29

Final Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 31