Jonassen ready for Test debut, returns after injury
CRICKET: JESS Jonassen is in line to make her Test debut against England after being named in the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad for the third consecutive year.
The Rockhampton-raised Australian spinner was named in the 14-player group to contest the Ashes over a seven-game series, beginning with three one-day internationals, followed by a single Test match and closed out with three Twenty20s in England from July 21 to August 31.
It will be one of the 22-year-old's first outings at a first-class level since she bowled Australia to a six-wicket series win over England in the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
In a shock move, selectors bumped her up to open the batting in the semi-final and final, a brave move considering Jonassen normally bats at seven or eight.
Her workload over the 2014 season left Jonassen in desperate need of knee surgery from an under-developed meniscus tear.
"I tore my meniscus in 2012 and had the required surgery but I found out in the early parts of last year that the tear didn't heal properly," Jonassen said.
"I had a tough last season trying to manage it, but I got through the season before going in for another surgery over Christmas."
Jonassen would likely be a certain starter for the ODIs and Twenty20 matches after proving fitness and form at nets training.
"I hope I can put in consistent performances to help return the Ashes back to Australia," Jonassen said.
"We have a number of skill sessions per week, it varies from three to five, as well as two to three strength and two running sessions in lead-up to the tour."
The developing all-rounder was hopeful of a Test debut after establishing herself as one of the Southern Stars' key performers in other Ashes formats.
"I've been a permanent in the squad for the last two years and I now have great clarity around my role within the team," she said.
"Hopefully the selectors put the faith in me to contribute in every match and earn a baggy green."
History awaits the Konica Minolta Queensland Fire player with the Australian women having not won an Ashes series in England since 2001. "We have a different lead-up this year with a new coach and a new strength and conditioning coach joining the mix," Jonassen said.
"I'm really excited for the challenge. We are still a relatively young team but are experienced at the same time so hopefully we can pull a number of wins together."
Jonassen's 171cm frame is the perfect make-up for her left-handed batting style and left-arm orthodox bowling style which has proved vital to Australia's Twenty20 and one-dayer campaigns.
"I'm making more of a name for myself as an all-rounder, although traditionally a bowler, being able to develop my batting has just added to my versatility," she said.
Growing up in Central Queensland, Jonassen dreamt of playing cricket for Australia, even though she was also a talented junior golfer.
"I loved every sport that was possible when I was younger and was happy to give everything a go," she said. "The challenge of cricket is what really drew me towards it and I love the team environment."
After debuting for the Fire while still at high school and being named a Shooting Stars national development squad player at 15, Jonassen was a given to earn a showing in the green and gold.
"Debut- ing for Australia is definitely something that is very memorable for me and I grabbed my first wicket against the New Zealand captain," she said.
"But my two World Cup performances stand out as my biggest achievements."
Today, Jonassen has her hands full juggling her final year of law studies with her professional cricket career.