Georgia Wareham has just had one of the biggest weeks in her cricket career, but the Australian leg-spinner says there were times she doubted she would ever get back from a serious knee injury.

Wareham made a big contribution in her international comeback, taking 3-20 to earn player of the match in Australia’s Women’s T20 World Cup win over Bangladesh in Gqeberha on Wednesday morning.

A day earlier she was picked up by the Gujarat Giants in the inaugural Women’s Premier League auction for $131,000. 

Speaking to ABC Sport after her big week, Wareham acknowledged she was unconvinced at times through her rehab that she would ever make it to the tournament.   

“I think even very close up to the end (before the T20 World Cup) it was always going to be really tight,” she said.

“I think the selectors put a lot of faith in me, coming into the squad after only playing 4 WNCL games, so I’ve got a lot to thank for those guys, and I’m really appreciative.”

Georgia Wareham throws her head back while sitting on the turf. Three doctors attend to her leg
Georgia Wareham missed more than 12 months of cricket after rupturing her ACL during a Women’s Big Bash game in October 2021. (Getty Images: Sarah Reed)

The young leg-spinner had just made her Test debut for Australia in 2021 when her career was stopped in its tracks when she ruptured her ACL playing for the Melbourne Renegades in a Women’s Big Bash game.

Wareham missed 15 months of cricket, making her return in early January in a WNCL game for Victoria against NSW.

A couple of weeks later she was named in Australia’s squad for the World Cup in South Africa.

Her first opportunity came against Bangladesh. Her first ball was hammered for four, but she hit straight back with a wicket the next delivery and went on to grab another two wickets in her final over.

“It was a pretty special night, getting back in the green and gold. It was certainly nice to get the first ball over in my spell — it didn’t come out the way that I wanted it to!” she said.

“But [it was good] to sort of get into a rhythm after that and feel the ball coming out quite nicely.”

Wareham said she hoped to keep her spot for more of the group games, but acknowledged that Australia’s squad depth makes for a tough decision for selectors.

Sri Lankan batter Chamari Athapaththu goes down on one knee to play a sweep shot as a Bangladesh wicketkeeper watches.
Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Athapaththu is an attacking batter who can help her team take games away from the opposition, says Georgia Wakeham. (Getty Images: ICC/Matthew Lewis)

Australia’s next game against Sri Lanka starts at midnight (AEDT) tonight.

Their opponents are unbeaten in their two games so far, and Wareham said she was wary of the challenge posed by the team and their captain, Chamari Athapaththu.

“I think they can take the game away from you really quickly. We’ve seen that before with Chamari before against us, she just likes Australian bowlers!

“I think (batter Nilakshi) de Silva has been really good for them as well, we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing and sticking to our strengths.

“Adapting to the conditions as well, we might see a bit more turn out there which can go both ways for both teams.”

WPL spot unexpected, says Wareham

Like many members of Australia’s T20 World Cup sqaud, Wareham spent a few hours last week watching the historic WPL auction from thousands of kilometres away in South Africa.

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The Australians were preparing to play Bangladesh the following day and the event crossed over with some of their training.

In the end, Wareham was one of four Australians bought by the Giants, joining Ashleigh Gardner, Beth Mooney and Annabel Sutherland in the Ahmedabad-based franchise.

Their coach will be a familiar face, with former Australian vice-captain Rachael Haynes in charge for Gujarat.    

“I think it’s just a really exciting space (to be in),” Wareham said.

“It was a bit of a shock, to be honest, I didn’t expect to get picked up – it was a really surreal experience just watching it all unfold (from South Africa).

“It’s something new for all of us, but … it’s really exciting for the game and I’m looking forward to heading to India after this and we’ve got the World Cup to focus on now.”