King of the WACA: Australian spinner’s big ambition

Fresh off a career-best performance, Alana King is eyeing an even bigger claim when she takes the field next.

After making Perth her home over the last couple of years, Alana King is determined to make the WACA Ground her own in this week’s historic first ever Test between Australia and South Africa. 

The iconic venue has a reputation as a fast bowlers’ paradise, but King reckons she has cracked the code for success with leg-spin after four seasons with Western Australia and three with the Perth Scorchers. 

King has featured in Australia’s last three Test matches, making her debut in Canberra in 2022 before edging out Georgia Wareham to be the sole wrist spinner in the XI both at Trent Bridge and Wankhede last year. 

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The 28-year-old will also be full of confidence after picking up a career-best 4-26 in Saturday’s final ODI at North Sydney Oval.  

"Any Test match that comes around, as we know they're few and far between so when the opportunity does come one hundred per cent I'd love to be part of it," King told The Scoop podcast.  

"It's my new home, Perth, and the WACA is one of the best places to play cricket.  

"I've adapted pretty well to bowling at the WACA for the last four seasons now.  

"I love it - I think the extra bounce helps my game.  

"Not too much changes - yes, it hasn't been spin friendly (traditionally) but I think you make it your own.  

"I've loved having that extra bounce, it’s brought different modes of dismissals in for me and I've made it my own, hopefully." 

Australia selector Shawn Flegler noted on Saturday following the release of the Test squad that the WACA had provided some assistance to the spinners in domestic cricket so far this summer. 

But with the WACA Ground’s fresh Test pitch to be used in the Test, King suspects pace and bounce could be on offer for the quicks. 

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"Some games played on different pitches on the square during the WBBL … there was plenty of turn and bounce there," King said.  

"We're playing on the Test wicket, which is the middle wicket (and) it hasn't had any cricket on it for the last couple of seasons. 

"It's nice to see there's a beautiful strip of green grass over the Test wicket." 

Australia have covered all bases in their 14-player Test squad, with five spin options, three frontline quicks and a bevvy of pace-bowling allrounders.  

Should King get the nod for the final XI, it would be her fourth appearance in the Baggy Green in the past two years. 

While Australia have played three Tests in the past eight months they remain a rarity, but King said she had no shortage of people to call on for advice when it came to crafting her red-ball game. 

"We don't have to look too far within our team," she said. 

"There's plenty of experienced heads, we've got Marshy and Presto (assistant coaches Dan Marsh and Scott Prestwidge), who've played a lot of red-ball cricket, Shelley Nitschke’s played a fair bit of red-ball cricket as well.  

"I can always tap into people in WA (too) ... Beau Casson is the guy who I tap into a lot.  

"He's helped me a fair bit on and off the field as well, I'd love to see him a lot more but obviously with his schedule and my schedule, it just never seems to cross over.  

"But he is a touch point that I have in Perth and even if it's a really quick catch up ... he always just checks in to see how I'm going.  

"Over the last season, he saw a few things and we had a couple of sessions and tweaked a few things and I've even got my mentor back in back in Melbourne as well, Jim Higgs, who I speak to quite often."  

Women's CommBank T20I Series v South Africa

First T20: Australia won by eight wickets

Second T20: South Africa won by six wickets

Third T20: Australia win by five wickets

Women's CommBank ODI Series v South Africa

First ODI: Australia won by eight wickets

February 7: South Africa won by 84 runs

February 10: Australia won by 110 runs (DLS method)

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