Wellington's record haul a timely reminder to selectors
With a leg-spinner sized hole currently in the Australia line-up, Amanda-Jade Wellington's history-making haul could not have been timed better
24 November 2021, 10:46 PM AEST
To say Amanda-Jade Wellington made a statement to Australia selectors with her stunning display in Wednesday's WBBL|07 Eliminator Final is an understatement.
She may as well have hired a plane and towed a banner over Adelaide Oval.
Wellington tore through the Heat line-up, taking the best figures in WBBL history with her 5-8 from four overs, bettering the 5-15 taken by Molly Strano in WBBL|01 as she led the Strikers into Thursday's Challenger against Melbourne Renegades.
The vacant leg-spin position left in the Australia squad following Georgia Wareham's devastating ACL injury has been one of the more intriguing subplots of this WBBL season thanks to the form of both Wellington and Scorchers wrist spinner Alana King.
There is of course no guarantee Australia will pick either, and the 50-over format will be their primary focus given the looming ODI World Cup that will follow the Ashes early next year, but Wellington could not have done more to remind selectors of her talents.
"I haven't had that much trust in myself for a while, so to see it pay off was good," Wellington reflected following the Strikers’ rollicking eight-wicket win.
"It's my mindset and the way I approach cricket now days.
"I could see the batters were stuck on the crease, so I told myself to float it up there and tempt them out of the crease to make them come and attack me, rather than me bowling flatter with less revs on it.
"I told myself to put it up there and be brave and trust my leg spin."
On Thursday, Wellington will come up against one of the tournament's most aggressive batters in India and Renegades star Harmanpreet Kaur.
Last time the pair met at Karen Rolton Oval, Kaur smacked Wellington out of the attack, hitting two huge sixes off the leg-spinner's sole over, which went for 16 runs in total.
"Last game, Harmanpreet Kaur took me down and as a spinner, in the back of my mind I know as a spinner I'm going to get wickets but I'm also going to get taken down," Wellington said.
"So my mindset towards that is risk for reward, so if I want to try something, I'll try it, and if I get punished that's okay."
Wellington, who famously took a wicket with her first ball in international cricket, played the last of her 21 games for Australia in March 2018 and has remained on the periphery of the national squad in the years since, touring with Australia A in India, England and on home soil.
But the door to the senior side has remained firmly shut as her replacement, Victorian Wareham, rapidly cemented her spot at international level.
Wellington came into WBBL|07 fresh off a standout campaign where she finished as the leading spinner in The Hundred.
Speaking to cricket.com.au from hotel quarantine following that tournament, Wellington put her form, and more assured approach to her cricket in general, down to several factors: a short break taken from the game during the 2020 preseason, and her focus on simply enjoying cricket, rather exerting energy worrying about things beyond her control.
If a recall does eventuate early next year, Wellington appears well-positioned to make the most of the chance, with her teammates noting the change in her demeanour since her return from a successful campaign in The Hundred.
"I reckon she's come back with a whole new confidence," Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath said last month.
"She's speaking up a lot more in team meetings, she's in complete control of her plans.
"I'll throw the ball to her and she'll tell me exactly what she wants, exactly what she's going to bowl and she's got a new confidence about her this year.
"I've given her a role this year to bowl a few death overs and she's just thrived under that."
The Eliminator: Adelaide Strikers win by eight wickets
The Challenger: Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers | Adelaide Oval | November 25, 6.40pm local (7.10pm AEDT)
The Final: Perth Scorchers v TBC | Optus Stadium | November 27 at 4.10pm local (7.10pm AEDT)
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