Australia left-arm spin all-rounder Sophie Molineux has been ruled out of the upcoming Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand due to a stress fracture in her left foot. Sophie being ruled out has paved the way for leg-spinners Amanda-Jade Wellington and Alana King to be included in the 15-member squad for the mega event in ODI cricket.Sophie had suffered the injury while playing for Melbourne Renegades in the women's Big Bash League and had missed out on the ongoing women's Ashes in a bid to recover in time for the World Cup. But now she joins pacer Tayla Vlaeminck (stress fracture on right foot) and leg-spinner Georgia Wareham (ACL injury on left knee) on the injury list.
"Sophie Molineux unfortunately misses out due to injury; she was unlikely to be available until the back end of the tournament and with limited match time and having to complete 10 days managed isolation, it was a tough call, but we weren't prepared to take the risk," said national selector Shawn Flegler.Talking about the inclusions of Amanda-Jade and Alana, Flegler remarked, "Amanda-Jade provides us with another quality spin option. Leg-spin has been a big part of our success in recent years and while Alana King is currently doing that role for us, there's no reason we couldn't play both in the same team if conditions and match-ups suit."The squad of 15, led by Meg Lanning, also has an extra batting option in Grace Harris, the off-spin all-rounder. "Grace didn't get much of a go in the recent T20s, but she brings the versatility to bat anywhere in the top or middle-order and her bowling could also be a real asset throughout the tournament as we've seen orthodox spinners have a lot of success in New Zealand," observed Flegler.
Pacer Hannah Darlington and wicketkeeper-batter Georgia Redmayne are the travelling reserves with the World Cup squad. "Hannah and Georgia will travel with the squad and can play a variety of roles if required. Hannah impressed during the India series, while Georgia continues to impress with the bat and importantly offers a back-up 'keeping option," said Flegler.Australia, the six-time winners of the 50-overs World Cup, will begin their campaign on March 5 against defending champions England at Seddon Park in Hamilton. The tournament will consist of eight teams playing matches against each other in the round robin format with the top four making the semifinals.Australia squad: Meg Lanning (captain), Rachael Haynes (vice-captain), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland and Amanda-Jade Wellington.Travelling reserves: Hannah Darlington and Georgia Redmayne.