Rising star Dooley ready for Aussie honours | Cricket Australia

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Rising star Dooley ready for Aussie honours

April 11, 2018

Queensland teenager Josie Dooley will be out to impress for the Australia Under 19s in South Africa // Getty

By Dylan Carmody

Queensland cricketer Josie Dooley is one of Australian cricket’s bright young prospects.

The wicketkeeper-batter is set to represent her country - and on Thursday could potentially pull on the Australian green and gold for the first time - as the Australia Under 19s Women’s team embarks on its first series since 2003 and a first-ever overseas tour.

“It’s pretty exciting to be going overseas for the first time to represent Australia,” Dooley said, ahead of the tri-series against England and hosts South Africa.

“It’s a great bunch of girls. We all know each other pretty well from previous (National) Championships, so it will be really fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

It isn’t surprising that Dooley has been selected for the tour. 

Australian coach Leah Poulton describes the rising star as a versatile cricketer, who can take the gloves or has the ability to slot in up the order as a specialist batter. 

Competitive at heart, the 18-year-old grew up in a household with three cricket-mad brothers and a father who played first grade for the Western Suburbs. 

It was only natural that Dooley would follow in their footsteps, on the back of some intense backyard battles.

“It pretty much started in the backyard with my brothers. Playing them, wanting to beat them… I’m very competitive. Any chance I get to play them and beat them, I’ll take it,” Dooley said.

“I started off playing with my younger brother in club competition and then got into state teams and went from there.”

She describes herself as vocal behind the stumps and attacking with the bat, an approach which usually goes hand-in-hand with competitive cricket and a natural desire to win.

This desire took Dooley through club cricket, and to underage representative honours with Queensland.

From there, she received a contract with Queensland, but admits her Women’s National Cricket League debut with the Fire this summer was unexpected. 

Debuting against a strong Western Fury outfit, Dooley impressed on debut, looking all the part of a state cricketer with 29 runs to her name.

“I’m on a Queensland Fire contract, but I didn’t think I was going to play this year. It was pretty special to make my debut for Queensland and definitely something I will remember for a long time,” she said.

“I definitely surprised myself. 

“It was pretty cool walking out and seeing (Australian stars) Elyse Villani and Nicole Bolton, and playing with those sorts of people. I sort of just ran with it and tried not to get a duck. 

“Once I got off the mark I felt a lot better. I played a sweep off a spinner for four early on which was a relief.”

Now, with the Australia Under 19s side on the verge of its first match on tour, Dooley is excited about an opportunity she believes would be huge for her development.

“Individually, I just want to take a lot from the experience and learn,” Dooley said. 

“I think it will be different playing on those pitches over there, so it will be interesting trying to adapt my game to play on those sort of pitches and also played with girls who I haven’t played with before.”

“With the team, hopefully we can win – that would be good.”

Back home, Dooley is eyeing off a potential WBBL berth with the Brisbane Heat where she was a rookie this summer, and when she returns from Under 19 duty will join up with the National Performance Squad.

One player who has hadmajor impact on her as a cricketer is fellow Queenslander and Australian star Beth Mooney.

“(I was) with the Heat I was a rookie, so I spent a lot of time with them which was a great experience, and hopefully I can get a Heat contract and keep working towards that and playing for the Heat which would be awesome,” Dooley said.

“Having Moons (Beth Mooney) around is pretty cool. 

“She’s an amazing batter and keeper, someone I definitely look up to and she helps me out a lot. Especially with keeping, she’s great to have around.”

But first, this tour is where Dooley’s attention lies - beginning with Australia’s first game against England on Thursday in Johannesburg.