Molineux earns CA contract ahead of blockbuster year

Cricket Australia announces a 17-strong group of centrally contracted women's players ahead of the T20 World Cup and Ashes

Sophie Molineux’s outstanding return to international cricket has seen the allrounder earn a spot on Cricket Australia’s contract list, as part of a 17-strong women’s group for the 2024-25 schedule that features a T20 World Cup and Ashes.

Molineux had earned an upgrade to the 2023-24 contract list last month during Australia’s tour of Bangladesh, and her excellent returns across five matches in that series see her effectively retain her place.

Meg Lanning is the only player to drop off last season’s list, following the former Australia captain’s retirement from international cricket last November.

 CA contracted women's players 2024-25: Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jessica Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

Molineux, 26, earned her first CA contract aged 20 in 2018.

But the left-arm spin-bowling allrounder lost her deal in 2022, after a major foot injury ruled her out of both a home Ashes and the ODI World Cup in New Zealand.

She was again overlooked last year as she recovered from a ruptured ACL.

But Molineux remained on selectors’ radars and following a successful return to domestic cricket for Victoria last December, she was recalled to Australia’s Test XI for February’s one-off game against South Africa at the WACA Ground.

She was then selected ahead of fellow left-armer Jess Jonassen in the 15-player squad to tour Bangladesh for three T20Is and three ODIs.

There, Molineux picked up 11 wickets in five games at an average of just over seven.

Despite dropping out of favour across all three formats, Jonassen has kept her spot on the contract list.

"We’re really pleased to be able to offer Soph a contract after her successful return to the side this summer," Cricket Australia’s Head of Performance and National Selector Shawn Flegler said.

"She’s shown a great deal of resilience to get back to full fitness and she’ll play an important role next summer.

"We feel the list features a great deal of depth and a variety of skillsets that will come into play throughout the various series scheduled for 2024-25, including the T20 World Cup and multi-format Ashes series."

Players not awarded contracts as part of the initial squad of 17 can earn upgrades throughout the year by accruing 12 upgrade points, with five points awarded for a Test match and two for an ODI or T20I.

Australia wrapped up an undefeated tour of Bangladesh last week, with the 14 players involved now set to enjoy a well-earned break before the pre-season ramps up in May, with several national training camps to be held during the winter.

Their next international assignment is against New Zealand in September, with three T20Is to be played in Mackay and Brisbane as preparation for the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in September and October.

That starts another huge summer for Australia’s women, who will also feature in Weber WBBL|10 before hosting India for three ODIs in early December.

A three-game ODI series in New Zealand will follow prior to Christmas, before the multi-format Ashes start on January 12, culminating in the day-night Test at the MCG from January 30 to February 2.

A three-game T20I tour of New Zealand will round out the 2024-25 season in March.

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