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Alana King awarded Cricket Australia contract, Sophie Molineux misses out

Injured duo Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck have been retained in the 15-strong list

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Alana King has impressed since coming into the Australia side  •  Getty Images

Alana King has impressed since coming into the Australia side  •  Getty Images

Legspinner Alana King has been awarded her first Cricket Australia contract after being an integral part of the ODI World Cup triumph with left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux dropping off the list after an injury-hit season.
King made her international debut at the beginning of the multi-format Ashes having come in as a replacement for the injured Georgia Wareham. She has since featured in every match - earning an upgrade to a contract during that time - and was Australia's second-highest wicket-taker at the World Cup with 12 scalps at 24.50 including 3 for 64 in the final against England.
Allrounder Molineux, who has been capped 38 times across formats, is the player to make way for King's inclusion after she missed the Ashes and World Cup due a stress fracture of her foot. Wareham (ACL) and fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck (foot), who were also both ruled out of the World Cup, have retained their contracts although are not set to return before the next Australian summer.
"Sophie Molineux is unfortunate to miss out on a contract, she's been an important part of the side over the last couple of years," national selector Shawn Flegler said. "Unfortunately, she's missed a large amount of cricket due to various injuries, but we feel she can continue to play an important role with a more consistent run of matches. We'll continue to work with Sophie and have full confidence in her finding her way back into the squad.
"Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck retain their contracts which enables us to continue to support them on their return to play after suffering long-term injuries. Both are progressing well in their rehab, and we look forward to seeing them in action at some stage during the summer."
King's arrival on the international stage on the back of two successful WBBL tournaments, firstly for Melbourne Stars then for Perth Scorchers, highlighted the depth on offer in Australian cricket. The selectors ended up naming two legspinners in their World Cup squad with Amanda-Jade Wellington being recalled.
"Alana King came into the side during the Ashes and hasn't missed a beat, she produced match-winning performances across all three formats and thoroughly deserves her spot on the list," Flegler said.
"We've had a core group of players performing well over the last 12 months which means some talented players have missed out, it's certainly made selection tough but we're in a fortunate position to have such depth across Australian cricket.
"Players such as Stella Campbell, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Grace Harris have all played for Australia and contributed to the team's success recently, and along with Sophie, have the chance to earn upgrades with consistent performances."
The stability of the contract list suggests that the World Cup-winning squad will remain together for at least another year. Captain Meg Lanning and coach Matthew Mott had previously said they did not foresee any players retiring in the near future.
Players not awarded contracts as part of the initial squad can earn upgrades throughout the year by accruing 12 points. Female players receive four points for a Test match, two for an ODI and two for a T20I.
Australia will return to action in July with a tri-nations T20I series in Ireland that will also feature Pakistan ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. While the next home summer has yet to be confirmed it is set to include a visit by Pakistan before Australia defend their T20 World Cup title in South Africa in early 2023.
A number of the centrally-contracted players will remain in the UK after the Commonwealth Games to feature in the Hundred.
Contract list Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo