CommBank Series v India - ODIs
Sutherland eyes return with sights set on new-ball role
Australia's fast-bowling allrounder Annabel Sutherland is itching to get back on the park against India after missing a tour earlier this year
4 September 2021, 05:18 PM AEST
Annabel Sutherland is fit and ready to grab her chance with the ball in Australia's upcoming series against India … just as soon as she is allowed out of quarantine.
The fast-bowling allrounder, who is set to turn 20 next month, missed Australia's most recent series against New Zealand in March and April, ruled out at the last minute due to a stress reaction in the femur of her right leg.
But the prodigiously talented teenager is back in Australia's 18-player group for their upcoming multi-format showdown with India featuring three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is, having entered hotel quarantine in Brisbane alongside her Victoria and NSW-based teammates earlier this week.
Sutherland has now revealed the call to sit out that limited-overs series across the Tasman was made from an abundance of caution, with team medical staff not willing to risk those early warning signs developing into a more serious injury during a crammed tour that included a fortnight of mandatory isolation.
"I guess it was not necessarily an injury, but just something that was flagged and the medical team decided to take a bit of a conservative approach with it, considering the nature of the New Zealand tour with the quarantine," Sutherland told cricket.com.au from her hotel room in Brisbane.
"Pretty much since that tour, I've been ready to go and I was able to get in a full pre-season which has been awesome.
"It was my second full preseason, so I was trying to get fitter and stronger, and work on a few different things around my bowling and my stability at the crease to hopefully add a few kms to my bowling.
"Overall I was just looking to get stronger, and I'll continue to do that."
With a full preseason under her belt, Sutherland has declared herself ready to take the new ball against India's powerful top-order later this month should she win selection for the role left vacant by the absence of star bowler Megan Schutt, who is sitting out the series after welcoming her first child with wife Jess.
It is a role the Victorian has taken on before; she opened the bowling alongside Schutt in three one-dayers against New Zealand at the start of last summer, when Ellyse Perry and Tayla Vlaeminck were both sidelined through injury.
It is a role set to test whoever is thrown the new ball, as they face India's star opening partnership of Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma.
"There's a number of fast bowlers in the squad with Darcie (Brown), Stella (Campbell) and Tayla (Vlaeminck), plus the allrounders – it's a pretty good fast bowling attack," Sutherland said.
"Anyone who gets the new ball will no doubt take it with both hands … I'll certainly be putting my hand up for that as much as I can.
"But no matter who takes the new ball, it will be a pretty good line-up.
"I think (bowling to) Shafali in particular, how hard she comes at the ball is in the powerplay, it'll be a really good challenge and one all the girls are really looking forward to."
Sutherland is also daring to dream of a maiden Baggy Green in the one-off Test on the Gold Coast beginning September 30, but knows it will be a tough selection battle with the bumper crop of quicks included in Australia's 18-player squad.
"That'd be incredibly special," Sutherland said of the potential for a Test debut. "It's a childhood dream for many and it was no different for me growing up.
"The Baggy Green means a lot to the girls who already have one, and the ones who don't, we'll be doing absolutely everything to put ours hand up for selection and get into that XI."
For now, Sutherland and her Victoria and NSW teammates are enduring hard quarantine in Brisbane – their first taste of the strict restrictions, as training was permitted during their isolation periods ahead of their last two series, both against New Zealand.
It was a sacrifice the players were happy to make to ensure the tour could go ahead, and Sutherland was pleased to report the first few days had passed quickly.
"I'm not sure how long that'll last, but I'm hoping that continues for the next 12 days," Sutherland laughed.
To stay connected, the players have been eating their meals together over video calls, while each morning Victoria fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck has taken on the role of quizmaster, reading out a newspaper quiz to test the knowledge of her teammates.
"We've been doing that with breakfast which has been good fun, although Meg (Lanning) won yesterday and Pez (Ellyse Perry) won this morning, so I think the questions are geared towards a slightly older generation," Sutherland laughed.
"Wolf (Georgia Wareham) and I are hoping for some more youth in the questions."
Upon their release on September 13, Sutherland and her teammates will be reunited with the remaining six members of the Australian squad, with one week to prepare for the opening ODI in Mackay on September 21.
CommBank Series v India
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
India Test and ODI squad: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht.
India T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh (wk), Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh.
Sep 30 – Oct 3: Test match, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast (D/N)