GOOD FORM: Jess Jonassen will represent Australia in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, to be played at venues across the country from February 21 to March 8. Picture: AAP Image/James Ross
GOOD FORM: Jess Jonassen will represent Australia in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, to be played at venues across the country from February 21 to March 8. Picture: AAP Image/James Ross

‘Huge thrill’ for Rocky’s champion all-rounder

CRICKET: Jess Jonassen says it will be a “huge thrill” to represent her country on home soil in the World Cup.

The Rockhampton all-rounder has been named in Australia’s 15-player squad to contest the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, which starts next month.

The Aussies are the defending T20 World Cup champions and after losing just one of the 21 T20 games they played in 2019 will start the event as favourites.

Jonassen’s selection follows a stellar WBBL season, with the 27-year-old instrumental in the Brisbane Heat winning back-to-back titles.

She scored 419 runs at 38.09 and was the team’s leading wicket-taker with 21 wickets at 19.19.

Jonassen is understandably excited for this World Cup, given injury denied her the chance to be part of the Australians’ 2018 triumph.

Jess Jonassen starred for the Brisbane Heat in the WBBL season. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Jess Jonassen starred for the Brisbane Heat in the WBBL season. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

“Any time you get to represent your country is special but to be part of a home World Cup might be a once-in-a-career opportunity as a player so it will be huge thrill to be a part of it,” she said.

“Being in a World Cup in front of your family and friends, on home soil, is pretty amazing.

“It was a challenging experience for me, missing the last one (2018 World Cup), but looking back now I can see how I developed and grew as a player and a person.”

That development has her poised to be a leading figure in the Australians’ title defence.

“I really enjoyed this summer in the WBBL with the Heat and tried very hard to use that competition to get myself performing at the level I wanted to be at,” she said.

“Being able to work with the Queensland and Brisbane coaching staff on my batting was something that I really appreciated and having a decent season with bat and ball is pretty positive.

“I’m keen to take that into the competition next month, in the warm-up games and then the World Cup.

“All of the Australian squad have worked hard in the past 12 months and we’ve enjoyed some success along the way so we should be in the right frame of mind for this next challenge.”

The Australians will warm up with a Tri-Series against India and England before opening their World Cup campaign against India in Sydney on February 21.

They will also play Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and New Zealand in their pool rounds.

Games will be played at venues across Australia with the grand final on March 8 at the MCG.