Jess Jonassen’s World T20 hopes remain alive despite an injury blow that will see the Australian spinner undergo knee surgery later this week.
Jonassen has been ruled out of the three-match Commonwealth Bank Women’s T20 International series against New Zealand starting later this month, after injuring her knee during an intra-squad trial match on the Gold Coast last weekend.
“It was pretty innocuous, to be honest,” Australia coach Matthew Mott said on Wednesday of Jonassen’s injury.
“A lot of us thought she’d tripped over the ball, but she heard a little pop and she’s had that before, so she came straight off and iced it and we looked after it”.
The extent of the injury and Jonassen’s likely recovery time won’t be known until after the Queenslander goes under the knife, but Australia coach Matthew Mott is hopeful the left-arm spinner can return in time for their World T20 campaign in the Caribbean from November 9.
Australia will travel to play Pakistan in Malaysia ahead of the ICC tournament, for three ODIs and three T20Is between October 18-29.
“We’re a bit unsure at the moment, she’s going to see the surgeon on Thursday, so it’s a bit of speculation at the moment just how long she’s out for,” Mott said.
“But she’s keeping really positive. She’s been through the process before. The best case scenario we’re looking at is hopefully (a return) for the back end of the Malaysia tour against Pakistan for her to join the squad.
“She’s reasonably confident and the good thing is she’s done a lot of work in the off-season, so her body’s really strong to be able to get through that rehabilitation.”
It’s not Jonassen’s first brush with knee troubles. In 2013, she missed Australia’s 50-over World Cup campaign after tearing cartilage, while she also went under the knife twice in the space of 18 months between 2014 and 2016.
Jonassen is one of Australia’s most experienced players, with two Tests, 56 ODIs and 58 T20Is to her name since she made her international debut in 2012.
Part of the Southern Stars’ winning World T20 sides in 2012 and 2014, she’s ranked No.7 in the ICC’s T20 bowling charts and her economical bowling will be a crucial part of Australia’s plans for glory at the tournament in the Caribbean.
Her absence against New Zealand could lead to greater opportunities for young Victorian allrounder Sophie Molineux, another left-arm tweaker who made her debut in India in March.
Molineux donned the green and gold in two matches during the T20I tri-series against India and England, but has yet to claim her maiden international scalp.
A powerful batter who opens for the Melbourne Renegades in the Rebel WBBL, Mott says Australia’s star-studded batting line-up means the 20-year-old may have to wait longer to make a major impact with the bat at international level, seeing her abilities will the ball as more critical in the shorter term.
“Sophie did really well in India with limited opportunities and she’s someone we’ve got high hopes for,” Mott said. “She’s a young player and she’s evolving and trying to find her way into the set-up.
“Long term she’s definitely a top-order batter and a genuine allrounder, but given our batting strength at the moment, her best opportunity is to get into the team more as a bowling allrounder.
“She’s really clear on that and just wants to put her best food forward to get into the team. Her attitude is fantastic, she’s got a mature head and a very bright future ahead of her.”
CommBank T20 INTLs v NZ
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra