Spin King set to reign over Commonwealth

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Murray Wenzel / AAP News

Teammates are confident in-form Australian legspinner Alana King can reign over the Commonwealth when Twenty20 cricket debuts in Birmingham.

Australia’s women begin their Games campaign against India at Edgbaston on Friday, the venue set to host every game of the historic eight-team tournament.

King will enter in hot form that’s carried on from Australia’s 50-over World Cup success, the spinner taking 3-8, 3-9 and 2-11 this month in T20 internationals against Ireland and Pakistan.

In six T20 internationals, King boasts nine wickets at an average of 8.22 and an economy rate of 4.5 runs an over.

Australia’s spinners were already achieving some turn at training on Thursday and spin is poised to play a key role as Edgbaston’s centre square wears under the strain of constant action.

“She’s fitted into this team perfectly, slotted in seamlessly,” allrounder and fellow tweaker Ash Gardner said.

“It showed in Ireland how damaging she can be in this format; in T20 she’s one of the best leg-spinners, certainly very competitive and it’s a flair that she brings to the team and takes people along with her.

“She can bowl in the powerplay and also at the death; it’ll be interesting to see how Meg (Lanning) uses her.”

Wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy admitted she still had trouble handling King’s spin and bounce.

“It’s a challenge, which is what you want; knowing if she’s challenging me, who keeps to her regularly, she’s challenging the batters,” Healy said.

“She’s a great asset to our side at the moment and has been on a roll.

“But pace (bowling) will still play its role and we have a couple (of fast bowlers) in our side that will be crucial at the back end of the tournament.”

Australia also play Barbados on Sunday and Pakistan on Wednesday, with only the top two in each group progressing to the semi-final stage.

New Zealand, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka will fight for the two spots in the other pool.

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