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Strano replaces park game with World Cup

By AAP Newswire

Molly Strano was meant to be playing club cricket for Essendon against Dandenong at Aberfeldie Park in north-west Melbourne on Saturday.

Instead, she spent it flying from Sydney to Perth after sending down the first ball of the women's Twenty20 World Cup on Friday night in Australia's loss 17-run to India.

Strano's maiden World Cup match was one of the most unlikely ever by an Australian, after having previously given up hope of an international recall.

Having last played for Australia in 2017 in five T20s, she was called on Wednesday to pack her bags to replace the injured Tayla Vlaeminck.

The 27-year-old arrived in Sydney on Thursday from Melbourne, and by Friday had leapfrogged three other squad members into the starting team in front of her biggest ever crowd.

"For someone like me who is an over-thinker it was probably a blessing in disguise," Strano, who finished with 0-11 from two overs, said.

"I packed my bags and cancelled a few things that I had in place for my normal life.

"I had to put my unavailabilities in for club cricket. I'm wrapped, because we had the 2km time trial (for Victoria) on Friday so I got out of that.

"I didn't expect to come in and open the bowling, I thought I might be mixing the Gatorades for the first few games."

The leading wicket-taker in Women's Big Bash history with 96 at 17.10, Strano again topped the charts this summer for the Melbourne Renegades.

But opportunities have been few and far between.

She earned her debut in 2007 but hasn't been sighted since that year, with Australia's squad already packed with tweakers and spinning allrounders.

And while the flame still burned to try and represent her country again, she had long conceded her best opportunities were behind her.

"To be honest I thought my Australian dream, that ship had sailed," Strano said.

"There were never frustrations over my non selection over the past three years. You look at the calibre of this team and the spinners they have got.

"I totally understood it.

"(But) to be out there playing in a World Cup, it really hasn't sunk in."

Meanwhile, spinner Sophie Molinuex missed the loss to India with a cork, that has now lingered and kept her for playing for almost two weeks.

Australia are still hopeful she will be fit to face Sri Lanka on Monday at the WACA.