27/02/2024

Australian batter Beth Mooney is excited for a full international series in her home state of Queensland. Image: cricket.com.au

It's been a long time between hits for the Southern Stars but according to superstar Beth Mooney, the squad are raring to go for thier multi-format series against India

Beth Mooney and the Southern Stars have been waiting a long time to get back into international action.

Having claimed the ICC T20 World Cup in front of over 80,000 adoring fans back in March 2019, the Aussie women seemed destined for years of dominance. But the interruption of global cricket via COVID-19 has meant the Southern Stars have barely had the opportunity to show their worth since claiming the World Cup at the MCG.

The national team has only had the chance to play 12 international fixtures since that historic night in Melbourne, where they have since extended their unbeaten ODI streak to 24 consecutive wins in their most recent series against New Zealand.

But the Southern Stars’ return to action comes against the very side they demolished in the World Cup final in India, who will travel across to Australia for a multi-format series after having taken on the English side as preparation.

Australian Batter Beth Mooney will be raring to return to international action, but is wary of her fellow compatriots after a “pretty slow winter”.

“We haven’t had any camps, we’ve been training within our states which has been a great system for us for a long time, but there’s nothing like playing international cricket,” Mooney said.

Originally scheduled in Western Australia, COVID fears have meant the series, which kicks off with three ODI’s against India starting on September 21, will now take place entirely in Queensland. All three one-day fixtures will all be played at Mackay’s Great Barrier Reef Arena, before the one-off day-night test and subsequent T20 matches will be played at Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium.

The test match itself offers an intriguing prospect for Mooney and her fellow teammates, who struggle to prepare for the rare test matches due to loaded limited-overs schedules.

“Fortunately, I’ve been able to train under lights with the pink ball,” Mooney said.

“The test is a day-night match, so it poses a different challenge to what we’re normally used to. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to be really tested, it’s something pretty foreign to us and it’s important we get as much of that format into our game as well.”

“But at the end of the day it’s still a bat and a ball and a cricket match, so hopefully the skills we’ve developed over a long period of time really help us transfer that into test cricket.”

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The series provides yet another challenge for the all-conquering Aussie side, who have made a habit of dominating the international scene in recent years. In a current golden era at national level, the Southern Stars will use the India series as ideal preparation for the one-day World Cup next year.

But the shift from Western Australia to Metricon Stadium provides another unique obstacle for the Aussies to overcome, as it will become the first test match to be played at the Gold Coast venue. Without home ground familiarity, Mooney expects her Stars to adjust to the new conditions.

“We’re really lucky that Metricon are putting up the drop-in wickets now for us to get prepped for that test match,” Mooney said.

“There hasn’t been any test cricket played on it so I expect it to be a really good wicket – four days of really good test match cricket will be seen on that wicket and it’s a great outfit as well.”

“From all reports, we’re playing on it at the right time of the year, so hopefully we can get a big crowd out to watch a good spectacle of women’s test match cricket.”

The Queensland series is welcome news for the local Mooney, who has been able to prepare without being in quarantine for the Indian tour. The left-hander will also be joined for the first time by fellow Queenslander Georgia Redmayne, who gained selection in the squad after a dominant run to finish the WNCL last season, where she led her Queensland side to the title off the back of some sparkling performances with the bat.

“I think it’s a great example of someone who has worked hard and scored an absolute plethora of runs and now reaps the rewards of that,” Mooney said on her teammate.

“It shows the strength of women’s domestic cricket in this country – it’s a really exciting time for Georgia I’m sure, she’s in quarantine after getting back from the Hundred in England, but when she gets home, she’ll be celebrating with her close friends and family.”

“Hopefully she can show what she’s got on the international stage now as well.”

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