IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jess Jonassen and her Aussie teammates will take on India in the grand final of the ICC Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup tomorrow. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jess Jonassen and her Aussie teammates will take on India in the grand final of the ICC Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup tomorrow. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Rocky coach tells of moment he knew Jess had the X-factor

CRICKET: Scott Deeth knew the moment he saw a young Jess Jonassen in the nets at CQUniversity that she was special.

“There was just something about her, she had that X-­factor,” he said.

Deeth asked the then 11-year-old if she played cricket and invited her to join the Brothers’ junior team he was coaching.

“We had our sign-on and she was the first person there,” he said. “In her first game she made 47 against some pretty good boys.

“She was talented and she was dedicated as well – she trained hard and was willing to learn. You could see she had that internal drive.”

Jess Jonassen celebrates the wicket of Smriti Mandhana of India during the World Cup at the Sydney Showground Stadium. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Jess Jonassen celebrates the wicket of Smriti Mandhana of India during the World Cup at the Sydney Showground Stadium. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Jonassen’s natural talent and determination would soon elevate her to the representative ranks.

She earned Australian selection in 2015, scoring 99 and 54 in a stellar Test debut in England.

She has since been a regular in the green and gold, and tomorrow will take to the MCG for the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup against India.

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Deeth won’t miss a minute of game.

“This is such a big thing,” he said.

“I’m so proud of how far Jess has gone, but it certainly doesn’t surprise me.

“I knew when she was 12 years old that she would play for Australia.

“Jess is pretty cool, calm and collected. She’s got the experience – she knows how to handle pressure situations, so I’m sure she’ll handle the final really well.”

Jonassen has established herself as a top leading all-rounder.

She played a leading role last year in the Brisbane Heat winning their second Big Bash title in a row, scoring 419 runs and taking 21 wickets.

Jess Jonassen was a standout for the Brisbane Heat as they claimed back-to-back WBBL titles last year. Picture: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images
Jess Jonassen was a standout for the Brisbane Heat as they claimed back-to-back WBBL titles last year. Picture: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

Deeth was instrumental in Jonassen’s conversion from a medium pacer to a spin bowler.

“One day in the nets she was pretty tired at the end of the day and she started bowling some spinners,” Deeth recalled.

“Back then if you bowled pace you could only bowl four overs straight, but if you bowled spin you could bowl 10 overs straight.

“It was halfway through that first season that she decided to give spin a go.

“She had a really good action and as soon as she started bowling it she excelled.”

Deeth said it was fantastic to see the progress of women’s cricket.

“When Jess was first playing for Australia their games were occasionally live-streamed, but now it’s on mainstream television and you can see 80 to 90 per cent of the games they play,” he said.

“If they get the win on Sunday it would only serve to strengthen women’s cricket in Australia.”

Deeth is thrilled to have played a part in Jonassen’s incredible journey but is loathe to take any credit.

“I just coached the basics and I think I helped instil that in her,” he said. “That’s what you need – you’ve got to have that foundation.

“All I really did was encourage her and teach her the basics. She did the rest.”



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