ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022
King still spinning after whirlwind summer
After playing a starring role in Ashes and World Cup victories just months after debuting, Alana King is keen to head home and let a crazy few months sink in
Laura Jolly in Christchurch
4 April 2022, 06:24 PM AEST
At the start of this summer, Alana King's focus was on making her debut for new Big Bash club Perth Scorchers.
She has ended it in Christchurch as an Ashes and World Cup winner, following a whirlwind period that included debuts in all three formats.
Speaking to cricket.com.au in the aftermath of Sunday's World Cup final triumph over England, King – who admitted she had enjoyed minimal sleep following the game – said she was looking forward to returning home to simple pleasures, and a chance to soak up the last few months.
"I was enjoying the off-season in WA 12 months ago, so not in my wildest dreams did I think that 12 months later I would be a World Cup winner with this amazing group," King said.
"It's pretty surreal for me to believe that I'm here today.
"I think it'll take some time for it to all sink in.
"Now off-season kicks in for us so it'll be nice time to get back home, sit with the family and reflect on what's happened and actually take it all in.
"It has been a pretty incredible three months, so I'm just excited to get back home with a bit of extra jewellery to show the fam and it'll be nice to celebrate with them."
King's recent ride may have been beyond her wildest dreams, but from the outside, the 26-year-old seemed to take her sudden ascension to the international game in her stride.
From taking a wicket on debut at Adelaide Oval, to playing a critical role in denying England's late charge towards a Test victory in Canberra, King has never been overawed by the situation in front of her.
And it was the case again in the final at Hagley Park.
Thrown the ball with Australia looking to break the back of England's middle order, King was unlucky not to have the key wicket of Natalie Sciver (who went on to make 148no) out lbw for 23 in the 14th over.
Sciver reviewed the decision, and the verdict on ball-tracking had it just missing the stumps.
Undeterred, King struck again two balls later, this time rapping England captain Heather Knight on the pads, with no question of a review.
She later returned to bowl dangerous No.6 Sophia Dunkley around her legs, then had Katherine Brunt stumped to finish her first World Cup final with a three-wicket haul.
"It's pretty big scalp for me to get, Heather Knight," King said.
"But I didn't start off too well and that's something that I'll look back and be like, 'okay, where can I go better for when the next opportunity comes?'
"But when I get given the ball by Meg I know I'm there to either break a partnership or take a quick wicket and I back myself to do that and I back my skill set.
"The one around Dunks' legs was nice, it's been a good contest between her and I through the Ashes now to the World Cup as well."
King pointed towards the culture in the Australian team as a reason for her success.
"Just being amongst this group, I think it's just really brought the best out of me," she continued.
"The moment I walked in, they didn't want me to be anyone else but myself."
King finished the tournament with 12 wickets, her country's second highest wicket taker behind Jess Jonassen with 13, and played all of Australia's nine matches, while her first full Cricket Australia contract could soon be on the way.
What a whirlwind journey for Alana King. 3 months ago, King hadn't even made her international debut. She's now played an integral part in Ashes & World Cup victories. Exemplifies the strength of the Australian system that she could step up and make an immediate impact#CWC22— hypocaust (@_hypocaust) April 3, 2022
It is just reward for the leap of faith made two years ago when she decided to leave her native Victoria and move to Western Australia in search of greater opportunity at domestic level.
It was a move that coincided the onset of the pandemic, meaning she has scarcely seen her family in Melbourne in the last two years.
Even when she played two Ashes ODIs in Melbourne in early February, where she had a large group of family and friends wearing 'Alana Army' t-shirts in the crowd to show their support, she was unable to spend proper time with them due to the team's COVID-19 protocols.
That factor will make Tuesday's homecoming – via a team charter flight back to Melbourne – all the sweeter.
"The first thing I do when I get home will probably be to give the family a big hug," King said.
"It's been a long time since I've seen them … I'll spend some nice quality time with them, I'll get dad to make me my favourite Indian feed, and I'll stock up on that.
"(The support from home) has been unbelievable.
"I know mum and dad have been getting phone calls (from family) every minute of the World Cup final and even throughout the World Cup.
"They're so proud that I've worked really hard to get here and I'm living my dream to be honest.
"I've got a massive support in Melbourne and it's a big shout out to them – this is as much mine as them because there's a lot of sacrifices that went on growing up and I'm just excited to get back home and share it all with everyone."
ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington. Travelling reserves: Heather Graham, Georgia Redmayne
Australia's World Cup 2022 fixtures
Mar 5: Beat England by 12 runs
Mar 13: Beat New Zealand by 141 runs
Mar 19: Beat India by six wickets
Mar 25: Beat Bangladesh by five wickets
All matches to be broadcast in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports