Molineux steps away to focus on mental health
Youngster withdraws from Renegades' clash with rivals Stars in Ballarat to concentrate on her wellbeing
22 November 2019, 02:29 PM AEST
Promising young Australia and Melbourne Renegades allrounder Sophie Molineux has become the latest cricketer to step away from the game to focus on her health and wellbeing.
Molineux will not be part of the Renegades squad travelling to Ballarat for their Rebel WBBL derby against the Melbourne Stars on Saturday, with the Renegades announcing Molineux’s request to take time away from cricket in a statement on Friday afternoon.
We're right behind you, Sophie #GETONRED pic.twitter.com/vD8kcz8gnw— Renegades WBBL (@RenegadesWBBL) November 22, 2019
Australia Women’s Team Doctor Pip Inge said Cricket Australia would work closely with Molineux to ensure she had the support she needed, and to help her transition back into the program when ready.
"Sophie has made the decision to take a break from cricket and we are providing her with the support she needs," Inge said.
"The welfare of our players is a priority and we are proud of the brave decision by Sophie to step away from the game."
An opening batter and left-arm spinner for the Renegades, Molineux burst on to the international scene last year, playing a key role in helping Australia capture the 2018 T20 World Cup in the Caribbean.
But 2019 has seen the Bairnsdale product battle injury; although there is no suggestion her decision to step away from the game is related to her shoulder troubles.
After dislocating her right shoulder in a training mishap in February, Molineux underwent a shoulder reconstruction in March and returned to the Australian set-up for the Ashes in England, starring on Test debut on Taunton.
The need to continue rehabilitating and strengthening her shoulder saw her left out of subsequent tours of the West Indies and at home against Sri Lanka.
She returned to the field for the start of WBBL|05 where her form has been mixed, taking eight wickets and scoring 101 runs in 10 matches.
"Sophie knows her teammates and the Renegades coaches and support staff are always there for her," Renegades coach Tim Coyle said.
"We’ll give Sophie the time, space and any support she needs," Coyle said.
Makinley Blows has been brought into the Renegades squad for this weekend’s match in Molineux’s place.
Molineux's decision follows that of several male players in recent times, including Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski.
Maxwell stepped away from the Australian team midway through the Gillette T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka and is yet to return.
Maddinson pulled out of the Australia A team ahead of their match against the touring Pakistani team, while Pucovski asked selectors not to consider him for a Test debut following that game.
Cricket Australia's head of Sports Science and Sports Medicine, Alex Kountouris, said the governing body had been collecting data on mental health since 2014.
"With the data that we've got, we're seeing that our players are no less or more vulnerable than anyone else in society," Kountouris told cricket.com.au recently.
"We're not calling it anything other than what it is – a part of life – and we've got to find ways to be preventative and manage it when it happens.
"This is not something that's come up in the last week.
"It's something we've been conscious of for a long time."
A detailed survey of men's and women's players is currently near completion. Among the initiatives implemented in the wake of previous surveys and through associated player welfare strategies is a greater provision for mental health services available to young players involved in state and national pathways programs.
In addition to increased resourcing to identify and address mental health issues among young players and extra research work being undertaken with Melbourne-based mental health research group Orygen, psychologists will be on site at pathways championship events to provide support and information.
In addition, CA and the ACA will begin rolling out an education program for Australia's 300 or so men's and women's national and state-contracted players that will include a series of modules to develop greater awareness of mental health issues and literacy.
If you or someone you know needs support, visit https://www.beyondblue.org.au/