ACA Member, employee and current Melbourne Renegades and VicSpirit off-spinner Molly Strano chats about her experiences in WBBL01, cricket goals, professional work and life away from cricket.
You had an exciting inaugural WBBL01 with the Melbourne Renegades – can you tell us what your favourite experiences were and what you thought of the first tournament?
The WBBL was a lot of fun! My highlight was when we managed to get our first win against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba. There is no better feeling in the change rooms once you come off the field after a hard fought win. It was great that the general public really embraced the tournament. The television and attendance numbers were fantastic and hopefully the tournament only goes from strength to strength.
Can we expect to see you in Renegades colours for WBBL02 and what are your goals for this season?
I hope so. It would be an honour if I were to have the opportunity to represent the Renegades in WBBL|02. My personal goals are for my body to get through the tournament relatively damage free! Team wise, my goals are to help the Renegades push towards a finals berth after a disappointing WBBL|01.
You have been working hard on your cricket game, particularly your batting – do you want to be a long term bowling all-rounder or is off-spin your main love?
I love everything about the game – batting, bowling, fielding and most importantly, the camaraderie. I have been working tirelessly on my batting over the past six months, which is due to that fact I’m on a “bowling ban” at the moment due to some niggling back issues. I’ve been rolling around Spirit training with a batters mentality and I’m loving it! I’d love nothing more if I could make the transition from 'bowler' to 'bowling all-rounder'.
You travelled to India this year to support the Southern Stars in the T20 World Cup – what was that experience like?
Incredible! It’s my second trip to India and I think I’m officially in love with the culture, food, colours, fashion, and the people… it’s such a vibrant country. It was good to catch the back end of the World Cup and support the Aussie girls. Disappointing to watch them lose the final against the West Indies but it was a great contest.
The recent pay deal for Australian women’s cricketers was a great step forward for the professionalism of the game – are you excited about the opportunities that now exist?
It’s amazing how far the women’s game has come over a short period. The Australian contracted girls are now full-time professional athletes and after all the success the team has had in recent years, this is very deserving.
I have a great amount of respect and appreciation for those who played before me. These women are the true pioneers of our game. They have paved the way for the current players who have it very, very easy in comparison. We are all extremely grateful for everything they did and sacrificed in order to play the game they loved and to get the sport to the point where it currently sits now.
There are great opportunities for women’s cricketers globally now with the WBBL tournament, Kia Super League tournament in England, a possible IPL in the future and a more competitive landscape at international level – any thoughts?
The current opportunities are great! I’m so excited to see Meg (my VicSpirit captain) head to England this winter and ply her trade in the Kia Super League. Hopefully we can see a few more Victorians/Aussies play abroad in similar ‘franchise’ competitions in the coming seasons. If a female IPL was to launch, I would do anything to get over there. Specialist throw down girl, spike cleaner, water girl… anything!
You currently work for the ACA as the Past Player Program Victorian Coordinator – what do you like about this role and what is the ultimate goal in your off-field work career?
The best thing about my job is that I get to connect with and meet so many past players. I’m a bit of a cricket tragic so I love chatting to our Victorian past player members about their cricketing journey, experiences and off-field stories! My dream job would be a player agent, working specifically with female athletes. With women’s sport (not only cricket – but AFL, Netball etc.) becoming more professional, I feel as though there is a niche in the market. I’m very passionate about female sport in general, so I would love to be able to help fellow athletes out in this space.
How has the ACA supported you in your playing and off-field career?
The ACA has been incredibly supportive, especially in regards to my professional development. I have utilised the ACA Education Grant each year, whilst studying my bachelor degree at Victoria University. The ACA Education Grant is a wonderful initiative which helps significantly reduce the financial burden that is associated with obtaining tertiary education. I have also utilised the Beyond the Boundary Program. I was fortunate to undertake a work placement at the ACA under the watchful eye of Clea Smith in the Past Player program and the ACA haven’t yet managed to get rid of me!
You are known for finding the best cafes in Melbourne – any good ones of mention?
My top 4 are:
Barry - Northcote, Tall Timber - Prahran, St Rose – Essendon, Heal thy Self – Yarraville.
How do you relax away from cricket?
I have a beach house down at Anglesea, so I like to get down there as often as I can to go for a surf or a kayak. I also like to get on my mountain bike. And as you can probably tell from the above question, I can confess to having a ‘brunch’ addiction. Love trying and finding new cafes!