Alana King has made a lot of sacrifices to chase her dream of wearing the green and gold and it’s finally come true when she debuted for Australia against England in the Womens Ashes opener last night.
King had been a part of the Victorian Women’s cricket team since 2016, however went searching for more opportunities as she was stuck behind spinners Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux in recent years.
The 26-year-old moved across the country to play with Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers this year in a move that ultimately paid grand dividends.
“It’s been a big dream of mine to put on the green and gold for Australia, but I think the big move west has really helped with my development and just being out of my comfort zone away from family,” King said speaking to media at Adelaide Oval on Friday morning.
“All the coaches over there, I’ve just got WA Cricket to be really thankful for and getting me to where I am today.”
Former Australian all-rounder and current assistant coach Shelley Nitschke presented King with her cap. A special moment, particularly as Nitschke has had a lot to do with King’s recent rise, working with her at the Perth Scorchers and previously in the national performance squad program.
King said that she has loved working with Nitschke and having her in her corner.
“Working with Shell [Nitschke] over a couple of years ago in the NPS program, I learned a lot from her in a short amount of time, and then getting the opportunity to work with her at the Perth Scorchers this year was just tremendous for me,” she said.
“[I’ve] just got pick her brain about different things, whether it was bowling or how to bowl in different situations.
“I think Shell is a big believer in making sure I’m being myself and I don’t choose to be anyone else. So, just backing myself, backing my skills, and making sure that I’ve done all the work in, all of the training that we’ve done, and all the skill development we’ve done.
“It’s just going out there having fun and doing it with a big smile on my face.”
Before the squad for this Ashes series was picked, there were discussions on who between King and Amanda-Jade Wellington would be selected after both having spectacular WBBL seasons.
King was selected ahead of Wellington but thinks it’s a great problem, having multiple people fighting for spots.
Wellington was in the wickets on Thursday morning for Australia A against England A, taking 3/15 in Australia A’s 3 wicket win.
“I think it’s great for Australian cricket, like if there is competition for a couple of spots [because] that brings the best out of each other,” she said.
“Wello [Amanda-Jade Wellington] is doing really well and [I’m] happy for her that she’s still taking poles [wickets] and hopefully we can get the best out of each other in whatever teams we’re playing in.”
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Looking at the game, England got off to a fast start before captain Meg Lanning threw the ball to Alana King looking to break the opening partnership.
King said her debut was an exciting time and was happy to get the result.
“Very exciting times and awesome to get the first win in the Ashes series, it’s an awesome group to be a part of and I’m very happy to be here standing after game one,” she said.
In the 11th over, King did exactly that removing Tammy Beaumont caught and bowled, capturing her first international wicket.
“It was exciting to get that caught and bowled and get my first international wicket and just excited to break that partnership that was building quite nicely for England.”
The leg spinner said the delivery went according to plan and breaking England’s opening partnership made it even more special.
“I was trying to jam Tammy [Beaumont] up a little bit, I was glad she got that leading edge, but they actually came a bit slower than expected, and sometimes you drop those and it’s because you’re expecting them a lot quicker. [I’m] happy it popped up nicely and it was a nice easy catch,” she said.
“I don’t shy away from a contest, and I always like getting into a contest no matter what the situation of the game is.
“So, when Meg threw me the ball, I just knew that I could back myself in and back my skills that I could have an impact in this game.”
England after 20 overs finished 4/169, a total Australia comfortably chased down thanks to Tahlia McGarth’s 91 runs off 49 balls. King said the team thought England had left a few runs out there.
“I think Midge [Alyssa Healy] had a couple of conversations with us when we got a couple of wickets saying we’ll be happy to chase 170 on this deck, it was a beautiful wicket [and] it’s a quick outfield so we thought they left a few out there when we finished up the first innings,” she said.
“With the line-up [and] depth we have in our team, we knew we could chase down that total quite comfortably.”
King also said it was great to see McGrath’s innings particularly having seen her form at the domestic level.
“TMac was just extraordinary, it was awesome to see what she has been doing in [previous] WBBL [seasons], and to do that on the international stage was phenomenal,” she said.
“I was in awe of her when she was bowling and even when she was pogoing the Poms around the ground, it was a lot of fun to see and I’m so happy for her.”
Games two and three are back at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday and Sunday.
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