It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours for Molly Strano after her surprise call-up to Australia's Twenty20 Squad for the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes.
The 25-year-old has had to put her ‘life on hold’ for the next two weeks so she can join the rest of her Australian teammates in Sydney. After receiving the call on Monday night notifying her of her selection, she was already up in Sydney training with the squad by Tuesday afternoon.
“I got the call on Monday night after training and I’m still in a bit of shock,” she said.
“It’s a big change from my normal life – working and training with my state team but it’s a great opportunity for me.”
She joins the squad alongside Sarah Aley and Delissa Kimmince after Tahlia MacGrath and Nicole Bolton were omitted from the squad after the test. However, Strano says that she feels ‘on the outer’ due to her time away from the squad and the abundance of talented spinners already available to selectors.
To win selection for the deciding T20s, Strano needs to prove her worth against in-form leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, big hitting allrounder Ashleigh Gardner and left-arm orthodox bowler Jess Jonassen.
“We’re sort of blessed in the Australian set-up to have so many quality spinners – we’ve got right-arm leggies, left-arm and right-arm offies so there’s plenty of variety,” she said.
“Having not been part of the squad for the first two parts of the series, I’ll come into camp, train really hard and put my name up for selection.”
Strano debuted for Australia earlier this year in the T20s against New Zealand where she impressed averaging 9.00 in her three matches. In just her second T20 International she nabbed her first five-wicket haul with impressive figures of 5-10.
Strano also recently captained the CA XI team that took on England in a three-day tour match as preparation for the historic day-night test. While she says she really enjoyed her time in the whites and away from the ‘high pace’ of T20 and one-day cricket, Strano believes the girls won’t have any problem returning to the fast pace of T20 cricket.
“I’m fairly sure they’ll be able to switch a gear and tick it over, that’s the part and parcel of professional cricket these days,” Strano said.
“I imagine we’ll ramp it up and they’ll (England) ramp it up and come out all guns blazing."
Australia lead the series 4-2 and just one win in the T20s will help them reclaim the Ashes while England need to win all three T20s to win them back.
And even though England are up against it, Strano knows the next three games will still be a massive challenge for the Australians.
“They’re a very strong team, they bat very deep. They’ve got players like Natalie Sciver and Heather Knight who bat really well and Sarah Taylor can break your heart as a bowler.”
“So it will be a challenge, not just for me but all the girls to come up against an England team that are pretty pumped up.”
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes
Australia lead England 4-2
Australia T20 squad: Sarah Aley, Alex Blackwell, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (c), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
England squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Nat Sciver, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.
First ODI Australia won by two wickets
Second ODI Australia won by 75 runs (DLS method)
Third ODI England won by 20 runs (DLS method)
Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT