World Cup

Perfect Cup prep the reward for Kiwi quarantine

Australia and Queensland opener Beth Mooney believes quarantine will be a small price to pay to gain an invaluable advantage ahead of the 2022 ODI World Cup in New Zealand.

The Australian squad will travel across the Tasman next month – via two weeks in managed isolation – to meet the White Ferns in three T20Is and three ODIs.

Their schedule takes in at least two venues that feature in their fixture for the 2022 World Cup and the timing of the tour, coming exactly 12 months before the World Cup is held in March-April next year, is an ideal insight into the local conditions.

Mooney was part of Australia’s last visit to New Zealand in 2017, playing three ODIs and scoring her first international century in Auckland.

“The conditions are very different early in summer compared to the end of the summer from what I’ve heard, so it’s a good thing we’re going at a similar time (of the year),” Mooney said after scoring a half-century for Queensland in the domestic one-day season opener on Saturday.

“We haven’t played there for four years, so it’s really nice even for someone like me who has played a few games over there.

“Hopefully I’ll get used to the conditions pretty quickly, score some runs and get some confidence before we head over there (next year). And it’ll give some young talent around the country an opportunity to showcase what they can do in their conditions.”

Australia’s women have not endured as many months in bubbles this summer as their male counterparts, but were under strict bio-secure conditions during their home series against New Zealand in September and October, and during the WBBL that was played entirely in Sydney.

Players from New South Wales and Victoria also endured two weeks of hotel quarantine prior to the international matches in Brisbane.

However, having not played international cricket since early October – in what was Australia’s sole series since the start of the pandemic – Mooney and her Australia teammates are prepared to make sacrifices to return to the green and gold.

And while Australia will spend a fortnight in quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand, they will be bubble-free upon their release for the duration of the tour, which is an added carrot for the squad.

“The Kiwis did (quarantine) for us when they came here, and it’s how the times are,” Mooney said.

“New Zealand have done a wonderful job in keeping COVID out of their country and we’ve got to do the right thing by them by following their rules. And hopefully once we’re through quarantine, we can go out and live normally in Kiwi land and play some quality cricket in their conditions leading into that World Cup next year.”

One young player set to benefit from the trans-Tasman tour is Victorian and Australia allrounder Sophie Molineux, who made her international debut in 2018 and is yet to play across the ditch.

Now a core member of the national group, Molineux is likely to be one of at least six players in next month’s touring part who will experience New Zealand conditions for the first time.

“Just playing overseas again, it sounds pretty incredible to think that is potentially what we could all be doing soon,” Molineux told earlier this month.

“To get over to NZ with the World Cup there that following year, any practice in those conditions will be pretty invaluable.”

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