Perth Scorchers leg-spinner Alana King turns to experienced teammates to earn Australian debut

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Eliza ReillyThe West Australian
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Perth Scorchers title-winning champion Alana King has turned to her teammates to help achieve her burning desire of representing Australia.

Australia’s spin stocks have been dealt a major blow ahead of next year’s cricket calendar, including the Ashes, after Sophie Molineux suffered a stress fracture adding to Georgia Wareham’s ruptured ACL.

But their pain is King’s gain as the leg-spinner continues to do everything she can and earn a spot in Australia’s bowling attack despite the looming threats of Amanda-Jade Wellington and Jess Jonassen.

“It has been a burning desire for quite some time,” King said.

“It’s out of my control what the selectors do.

“I try and control what I can control. That’s how I train, prepare myself for games. What will be will be.

“If I get the tap on the shoulder, it’s a dream come true but I’m focused on what I’m doing right now.”

Alana King helped Perth win the WBBL title this year.
Camera IconAlana King helped Perth win the WBBL title this year. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

But King’s move from the Melbourne Stars to Perth in the WBBL off-season and her 16 wickets could finally see her take the green and gold leap.

Working under head coach and former international spinner Shelley Nitschke, the 26-year-old worked to become a more attacking bowler and also soaked up the experience on offer from teammates Marizanne Kapp, Beth Mooney and Sophie Devine.

“The lure of working under Shelley was a big reason why I signed up with the Scorchers. I’m glad I did because I learnt a lot this season from some of the best players in the world,” she said.

“They’re the type of players you want to be playing alongside. They’ve got so much experience at international level, you can pick their brains on anything.

“When I signed the Scorchers, I knew I could spend training developing into who they wanted me to be as a bowler. Not change who I am as a bowler but what my role could be and tweaking a few things.”

Alana King joins in the action as part of the Next Innings female cricket program.
Camera IconAlana King joins in the action as part of the Next Innings female cricket program. Credit: Cricket WA

The next King may already be developing at grassroots level after the Victorian paired with the Next Innings program designed to accelerate and retain female participation in cricket.

WA Cricket’s north-metro region were selected as one of five national case studies to study female participation, including a special training session earlier this week attended by King.

“We want girls to walk into their local cricket club and know it’s a home for life. It’s more than just cricket,” area manager Niki Andonovski said.

Alana King joins in the action as part of the Next Innings female cricket program.
Camera IconAlana King joins in the action as part of the Next Innings female cricket program. Credit: Cricket WA

King hoped her team’s recent WBBL title can inspire the next generation of female cricketers.

“We want cricket to be the number one sport for females. Hopefully we’re playing a part in that,” she said.

WA Cricket have received $50,000 in state funding, $20,000 of which is going direct to WA clubs.

Western Australia is leading the country in the number of women and girls signing up to play cricket, despite a Covid effected year, according to the the 2020-21 Australian Cricket Census.

The rising popularity of cricket with women and girls saw a growth (+13%) in registered players, the biggest growth across Australia, and a significant (+28%) increase in girls playing Woolworths Cricket Blast and Junior Club Cricket.

This increase can be directly attributed to the outstanding effort of so many clubs and associations across the State working in partnership with the WACA Community Cricket Team and its Affiliates to drive innovative programs and new competitions for women and girls.

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