Taking on the captaincy of Victoria for the first time and the Melbourne Renegades for the second year is the perfect way for World Cup winner Sophie Molineux to “get out of my own head” and focus not on what she’s missed but what’s to come.
Molineux went from the highs of dancing on stage with music superstar Katy Perry at a packed MCG after Australia’s epic T20 World Cup win in 2020 to the lows of missing wins in the Ashes last summer, the one-day World Cup and a historic first Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2022.
It was a trio of misses brought about by a stress fracture in Molineux’s foot, suffered during last season’s WBBL when the Renegades were on the verge of making the final.
Six months of rehabilitation ended when spinning all-rounder Molineux, 24, turned out for the Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred in the UK before returning home to make a maiden one-day hundred for Victoria last week.
Now her attention has turned to the start of what looms as a hectic WBBL campaign in Mackay on Sunday. All thoughts of what Molineux has missed have been banished, as much as possible anyway.
“You don’t want to look back on it too much and just take a lot of the lessons out of it and I feel like I‘m in a really positive space with my body and everything,” Molineux said this week.
“It’s not easy watching all those World Cups and Ashes series and Comm Games and everything, especially when you’ve been a part of it before and you’ve got a lot of close mates in that set-up.
“Firstly, you’re really proud and then you turn the TV off and it’s a bit quiet and you’re sort of wondering ‘what if’?”
“Of course I’d love to be back in that but I feel like I don’t really want to think too much about stuff that I can’t control and for me it’s just … I’m not taking things for granted and making sure that I sort of do it with a smile on my face and enjoy everything that comes with the Big Bash.”
Molineux says taking on the captaincy has also been key in ensuring all her energies aren’t on her own game and her own aspirations, which include getting back into the Australian team for next February’s T20 World Cup defence, and is an aspect she thoroughly enjoys.
“I do. It’s different. It’s a challenge, but it gets me out of my own head,” she said
“I love the game. I love watching cricket, always have, and I think that sort of helps probably by the amount of cricket I’ve watched and speak cricket with my old man back at home. I think that stuff helps with the captaining side of things.
“But I really enjoy trying to help players sort of have fun and enjoy themselves playing cricket while being able to be confident back themselves.”
Molineux also said she would be better at handling the Renegades role this time around, with lessons learnt from last season as she prepares for a hectic schedule of 14 games over the next six weeks, all over the country too.
“It was a big learning curve last year and by the end of it, I ended up with a stressie (stress fracture) in my foot and was pretty tired. Hopefully, I’ve learned a few lessons from last year,” she said.
“I think part of that is being able to manage yourself around everything else that’s going on because at the same time you need to perform and be really present for the group as well on game days and everything.
“I think it’s definitely a big juggling act, but we’ve got a few leaders, two international captains and a really, really strong core group of players that have been at the Renegades too which will make things a lot easier for me.”