Pin City: Wellington making the most of the novelty of the Games

For a professional cricketer who describes a tour where he didn’t play a single match as “one of the best”, it’s quite clear that something a bit unusual happened.

Amanda-Jade Wellington is unlikely to feature in Australia’s XI as they go for Commonwealth Games gold – indeed, she hasn’t played T20 cricket for Australia in over four years now – but is adamant that her time in Birmingham was one of, if not the best tour she has ever been on.

Leg-spinner Wellington, a colorful character with a refreshing perspective on life and cricket, as well as a penchant for collecting, has spent her time in Birmingham soaking up all that life at the Commonwealth Games has to offer. to offer.

The 25-year-old, who burst onto the international cricket scene as a precociously talented teenager before spending four years away from the Australian setup, returned to the fold ahead of this year’s ODI World Cup, playing two times in the group stages in an ultimately successful tournament.

Amanda-Jade Wellington in Australian training // Commonwealth Games Australia

It was a recall earned through hard work improving his fitness and his court as much as his bowling. And with that, she brought a new maturity and mindset, and a motto that she continues to live by.

If I play, I play. If I don’t, I will always create memories.

* * *

Wellington dined with Anna Meares, the track cycling legend who is now part of the Australian team’s management, spent time befriending middle-distance runner Peter Bol and bonded friendship with athletes from the small African nation of Lesotho.

But there’s one element of the Games that captured his imagination like no other: the pin collection.

Wellington swaps pins with Caribbean athletes //
Wellington swaps pins with Caribbean athletes //

Swapping and exchanging of pins has become a tradition in multi-sport events since they began to be given out at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics in 1994.

In Birmingham, athletes received a set of pins unique to the country they represent which they can then trade with athletes from other nations.

For Wellington, an avowed “full-time Pokemon collector”, the attraction was obvious and immediate.

Wellington, laughingly admitting that she has been a ‘prick’ around her Australian teammates, immediately set out to acquire as many Australian team pins as she could to then use them as currency. exchange to build up his collection of pins from other nations. .

With her collection of 52 pins out of a possible 72, it has been a remarkably successful and enjoyable venture for Wellington, but the South Australian is desperate to complete the set and has even recruited Meares to help her on her mission.

Some of the pins Wellington collected at the Comm Games //
Some of the pins Wellington collected at the Comm Games //

“I had dinner last night with Anna Meares and was talking to her about the pins and how I enjoyed the whole experience,” Wellington said on the Scoop podcast.

“I was telling him that I had between 40 and 50 pins, but I try to have a lot as I want the collection.

“So she said, ‘I can help you when I’m at the main village…’ And quite early this morning I got a text from Anna saying, ‘I got this pin from Jersey , you can check off your list’.”

Wellington and runner Peter Bol //
Wellington and runner Peter Bol //

There’s no doubt Wellington would love to play a role on the pitch as Australia hunt for a historic gold medal in tonight’s clash with India (2am AEST).

But true to the ‘team first’ mentality that pervades the Australian squad, Wellington, 25, is just accepting the situation and is delighted to witness and be part of the success at Birmingham.

“I think a few years ago, if it was me, I’d probably throw my toys out of bed and probably be like, ‘Why am I not playing? ‘” Wellington said.

“I probably would have talked to my mum or my partner and said, ‘I don’t play, what is this?'”

“But now I think it’s just a game of cricket, you know. I know what (the coaches) are doing is best for the team and the girls are absolutely breaking it right now.

“It’s so awesome to see, especially someone like (leg spinning mate) Alana King come into the band playing so well, I couldn’t be happier for her.

“Just being in this environment again makes me really happy.”

Wellington’s appreciation for this truly diverse multi-sport event is palpable. At every opportunity, the South Australian wanders the streets of Birmingham, from the base of the Cricketers’ Hotel to the bustling bustle of the University of Birmingham’s main Athletes’ Village, where she’ll strike up conversations with athletes, officials and volunteers.

“Being here is pretty amazing,” Wellington said.

“I went out of my way to experience it because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“I’ve met Peter Bol, Cody Simpson, Emma McKeon, so many people love it, it’s amazing.

“Even on our days off, I went to the main village and just sat on the athletics track watching people practice.

“It’s amazing how people train. It’s so different from cricket, and they’re so precise in what they do, and it’s so fascinating to watch.”

With less than 20 pins to collect, you’d be giving Wellington a chance to leave Birmingham with the full range of Commonwealth nations.

An even safer bet, Wellington will join his Southern Brave teammates before The Hundred with unique memories, an infectious desire to do even more, and eyes on his next target to collect.

Commonwealth Games 2022

The Australian team: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda- Jade Wellington

See all Commonwealth Games cricket teams here

Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan, Barbados

Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka

July 29: Australia beat India by three wickets

July 31 : Australia beat Barbados by nine wickets

August 3: Australia beat Pakistan by 44 points

Semi-finals: August 6

India beat England by four points

Australia beat New Zealand by five wickets

Bronze Medal Game: England v New Zealand, August 7, 10 a.m. local time (7 p.m. AEST)

Gold Medal Game: Australia vs. India, August 7, 5:00 p.m. local time (2:00 a.m. August 8 AEST)

All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium. Watch live or on demand via 7Plus

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