CommBank T20Is v New Zealand
No rust, no worries: Aussies embrace Brisbane bubble
A preparation like no other has sparked a new level of intensity for Australia’s Victorian players
16 September 2020, 04:00 PM AEST
Allrounder Sophie Molineux says any fears long months of lockdown and training restrictions would leave Australia's Victorian representatives rusty have been rapidly laid to rest since their arrival in Brisbane.
Molineux is one of six Victorians, alongside Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Wareham, Annabel Sutherland and Molly Strano, currently undergoing two weeks of hotel quarantine in the Queensland capital ahead of the Commonwealth Bank T20 and ODI series starting September 26.
The group is permitted to train for two hours per day under strict biosecurity arrangements, which allow for controlled access to outdoor training nets at the Allan Border Field.
Making the most of every minute is critical, not only to finetune their skills, but also to ensure their bodies are physically ready for what will be a hectic series featuring six matches in 12 days.
"We have to make the most of what we've got and once we get to training, everyone is like, 'right let's smash this out'," Molineux told cricket.com.au.
"The intensity of it, everything has gone through the roof because everyone wants to make the most of our time outside.
"It's like we're dogs off a leash.
"Having two hours to do that means there's no mucking around … with that naturally the intensity goes through the roof as well, it's really cool.
"We only trained for two hours but I felt really satisfied at the end of it."
Alongside batting, bowling and fielding, the players also fit their required running and strength training into the two-hour windows, with equipment including barbells and weight plates available in a makeshift open-air gym.
"It's a cool set-up," Molineux continued.
"After the last three or four months, (strength and conditioning) was pretty much the only thing we were able to do, so it's been important to keep that ticking over too leading into a summer of cricket.
"We're just trying to make it work, and it's working at the moment.
"It's teaching us how to adapt and it's been great."
The last time the Australian players were in action was the T20 World Cup final at the MCG, where they thrashed India by 85 runs to claim their fifth title in front of 86,174 people.
Lockdowns and border restrictions meant there were none of the usual Australian camps that would typically take place through the preseason, but already Molineux is confident the long break will not affect them come the first T20I.
"When we were in our states we all potentially had that thought (of being rusty) now and then," she said.
"Especially in Victoria when it was about eight degrees and we were catching high balls at 8am one morning, we were a bit rusty then, but getting up here and getting outside and running around … the quality and standard of training, I don't think we should be worried about feeling rusty."
Five players from NSW and the ACT are also in hotel quarantine in Brisbane – Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Erin Burns and Maitlan Brown.
All 11 players plus staff were subject to 'stay at home' rules for two weeks prior to leaving their home states, and the NSW/ACT group are staying on a different floor to their Victorian teammates, traveling in separate buses to and from Allan Border Field, and training in separate groups while there.
However, even the chance to see some different faces from a distance has proved something of a novelty.
"We've copped a bit from the New South Wales (players) because on day one we were a little bit shy, us Victorians, because we haven't seen humans outside our little Vic bubble," Molineux laughed.
"We had to relearn our words and say 'hello, hope you have a nice day'.
"It was quite weird. Our social graces have gone out the window … (but) we've got our touch back now."
The remainder of the 18-player Australian squad will arrive on September 21.
New Zealand touched down in Brisbane on Wednesday last week and will be in hotel quarantine until September 23, with the teams to meet in a practice match at Allan Border Field the following day.
CommBank T20I and ODI series
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry*, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Belinda Vakarewa *subject to fitness
New Zealand squad: Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Natalie Dodd, Deanna Doughty, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jenson, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin
All matches to be played at Brisbane's Allan Border Field
September 26: First T20, 1:50pm AEST
September 27: Second T20, 1:45pm AEST
September 30: Third T20, 1:45pm AEST
October 3: First ODI, 10:10am AEST
October 5: Second ODI, 10:10am AEST (11:10 AEDT)
October 7: Third ODI, 10:10am AEST (11:10 AEDT)