Healthy competition among Australia's enviable spin stocks

Alana King, Ashleigh Gardner, Georgia Wareham and Jess Jonassen all have a big role over the coming months

Alana King says the "healthy competition" between Australia’s spinners can only be a positive thing – although she conceded it was also natural to be frustrated when on the wrong end of a selection call.

King returned to Australia’s XI with a bang in Saturday’s first ODI against South Africa at Adelaide Oval, picking up three wickets in what was a dominant eight-wicket victory for the hosts.

That came after the 28-year-old was left out of the T20I squad that took a 2-1 series win over the Proteas, with Australia preferring just one of their two regular leg-spinners in that format of late.

But King has held her ODI spot alongside fellow leggie Georgia Wareham since she was recalled during the October home series against West Indies.

"I'm feeling great," King told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

"It's great to be back amongst the girls, I've missed them.

"I'm happy with how the ball's coming out, it's fizzing out nicely (but) I was playing second fiddle to what (quicks) Kim Garth and Megan Schutt were doing, they set up the game beautifully for us."

Australia v South Africa | First ODI

Australia’s wealth of spin options is the envy of every other nation, but it also means incredibly tough calls must be made at the selection table.

Ashleigh Gardner’s development has seen her transform from a batting allrounder into Australia’s leading spin weapon, in a nationally contracted group that also includes King, Wareham and left-armer Jess Jonassen.

The recent shift in the balance of Australia’s T20I XI has seen them include one fewer frontline spinner, with Gardner and Wareham picked, and Jonassen left on the sidelines with King outside the squad altogether.

That balance is slightly different in the 50-over format, where the Australians play three spinners and where King’s excellent one-day form, along with the way in which she and Wareham have been able to complement one another, has seen Jonassen left out in recent months.

The upcoming bilateral tour of Bangladesh – where a T20 World Cup is also due to be played in September – could change that approach, and create more opportunities for the slower bowlers.

But the selection squeeze shows no signs of easing following left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux's outstanding domestic form since her return from an ACL tear, where she currently sits on top of the wicket-taking charts despite missing the first two rounds of the season.

Elsewhere, wrist spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington remains a consistently strong performer in state and WBBL cricket while sitting behind Wareham and King in the national pecking order.

King bamboozles Vastrakar with dream delivery

"I think we're very blessed in Australian cricket and I think it brings the best out of us, when there's competition for spots we want to be performing at our best and playing our best cricket all the time," King said.

"Being a human being, you're always going to be frustrated (when omitted).

"But the group that we have, everyone's got each other's back, whether it's the highs or lows ... so when the lows are low, you've got 10 other mates, or even 13 other mates around you to put their arms around you and get you through it."

The ODI series will continue in Sydney on Wednesday.

Australia trained at the Cricket NSW headquarters in Silverwater on Monday, ahead of Wednesday’s second ODI against the Proteas.

While the bowlers were dominant in bowling South Africa out for 105 at Adelaide Oval, King is expecting a tougher assignment at the famously batting-friendly North Sydney Oval.

"We love playing in North Sydney, the crowd's always great, but it is a challenging place to bowl, don't get me wrong," King said.

"I've been hit into the fig tree a few times, which has not been fun."

Women's CommBank T20I Series v South Africa

First T20: Australia won by eight wickets

Second T20: South Africa won by six wickets

January 30: Australia win by five wickets

Women's CommBank ODI Series v South Africa

February 3: Australia won the first ODI by eight wickets

February 7: Second ODI, North Sydney Oval, 2.40pm

February 10: Third ODI, North Sydney Oval, 2.40pm

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Darcie Brown, Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris*, Jess Jonassen, Alana King**, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham *T20s only | **ODIs only

South Africa squad (T20Is & ODIs): Laura Wolvaardt (c), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Mieke de Ridder (wk), Ayanda Hlubi, Sinalo Jafta (wk), Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Suné Luus, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Chloe Tryon, Delmi Tucker

Women's CommBank Test Match v South Africa

February 15-18: Only Test, WACA Ground, Perth 11.00am