Jessica Louise Jonassen, born on 5th November 1992, hailing from Rockhampton, Queensland, has emerged as a prominent figure in Australian women’s cricket. Known for her left-arm orthodox spin bowling, Jonassen’s journey in the cricketing world has been nothing short of remarkable.
Early Life and Education
Jessica Jonassen’s cricketing journey began in her formative years, growing up in the coastal city of Rockhampton, Queensland. She attended Emmaus College, Rockhampton, where she completed her high school education in 2009. Her passion for cricket ignited around the age of 10 or 11 when she started playing the sport, initially at school and later for Rockhampton Brothers. Notably, she played in boys’ teams, as there were no dedicated girls’ cricket programs in rural Queensland at that time. Jonassen’s talent was undeniable as she progressed through various grade levels and even played a couple of A-grade games before relocating to Brisbane. In Brisbane, she continued her cricketing journey, representing the University of Queensland.
Beyond the cricket field, Jessica Jonassen’s pursuit of knowledge led her to complete a law degree at Griffith University in 2015. Her commitment to continuous learning was further evident as she embarked on a graduate certificate in forensic mental health.
Dominating the Domestic Scene
Jessica Jonassen’s domestic cricket career took flight when she made her debut for the Queensland Fire in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) during the 2008–09 season. Remarkably, she made her WNCL debut against the New South Wales Breakers just three weeks after celebrating her 16th birthday. This auspicious debut saw her contribute with both bat and ball, scoring 12 not out off 16 balls and taking 0/21 from three overs in an eight-wicket loss.
Her batting prowess came to the forefront during the 2010–11 season, where she finished fifth in the league’s run-scoring charts with 228 runs at an average of 57. Her exceptional performance earned her the Queensland Player of the Year award. She repeated this feat in the 2014–15 season, securing not only Queensland’s Player of the Year but also the league-wide Player of the Year title.
In a significant development ahead of the 2020–21 season, Jessica Jonassen assumed the captaincy of Queensland, succeeding the retired Kirby Short. This marked a new leadership role in her illustrious career.
Rising Star in the Women’s Big Bash League
Jessica Jonassen’s association with the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) began with her hometown team, the Brisbane Heat, where she was signed as a marquee player for the inaugural season. She made a significant impact during the 2016–17 season, taking 18 wickets at an average of 15.88. However, the Heat’s journey came to an end with a semi-final loss to the Perth Scorchers.
One of the most memorable moments in WBBL history involved Jessica Jonassen during WBBL|04. In a semi-final against the Sydney Thunder, she bowled the final delivery of the match to Nicola Carey, who seemingly hit the ball for a game-winning six. However, an extraordinary catch by Haidee Birkett within the boundary rope turned the game in favor of the Heat. Subsequently, in the final against the Sydney Sixers, Jonassen’s all-round performance contributed to the Heat’s maiden championship win.
WBBL|05 witnessed Jessica Jonassen’s outstanding performance with both bat and ball. She scored 419 runs at an average of 38.09 and took 22 wickets at an average of 18.31. These stellar contributions earned her the Heat’s Most Valuable Player award, highlighting her versatility as an all-rounder. The Heat emerged victorious again, claiming back-to-back championships.
In July 2020, Jessica Jonassen signed a new three-year contract with the Brisbane Heat and was entrusted with the captaincy for WBBL|06.
The International Journey
Jessica Jonassen made her international cricket debut in a Twenty20 match against New Zealand on 20th January 2012 at North Sydney Oval. She showcased her prowess by taking two wickets for 28 runs and contributing with the bat to help Australia secure victory.
Her One Day International (ODI) debut came on 25th January 2012 at the Sydney Cricket Ground against New Zealand. She took her first ODI wicket just four days later at Blacktown International Sportspark, playing a vital role in Australia’s comfortable victory.
Jessica Jonassen played a pivotal role in Australia’s victory at the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Her remarkable performance in the final against England, where she took 3/25, played a significant role in Australia’s triumph.
Despite missing the 2013 Women’s Cricket World Cup due to injury, Jonassen made a remarkable return to international cricket in August 2013. She played a crucial role in spinning Australia to victory in the 2013 Women’s Ashes at Lord’s.
Jessica Jonassen’s Test debut came during the 2015 Women’s Ashes, and she played a critical hand with the bat, earning her Player of the Match honors.
Over the years, Jonassen has continued to shine on the international stage, achieving significant milestones, including her 100th ODI wicket. Her remarkable journey in international cricket has been characterized by consistent contributions with both bat and ball.
Off the field, Jessica Jonassen is known by the nicknames “JJ” and “Jono.” In February 2018, she got engaged to her partner, Sarah Gooderham, and they tied the knot in Hawaii in April 2023.
Jessica Jonassen is not just a cricket enthusiast but also a passionate supporter of the Western Bulldogs, an Australian rules football team. She shares her life with a pet French bulldog named Alfie and is known for her love for playing the guitar.
Honours and Achievements
- 5x ICC Women’s T20 World Cup champion: 2012, 2014, 2018, 2020, 2023
- 1x ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup champion: 2022
- 1x Commonwealth Games champion: 2022
- 2x Women’s Big Bash League champion: 2018–19, 2019–20
- Australian Women’s Twenty20 Cup champion: 2013–14
- Women’s National Cricket League Player of the Year: 2014–15
- Queensland Fire Player of the Year: 2010–11, 2014–15
- Brisbane Heat Most Valuable Player: 2019–20
Jessica Louise Jonassen’s journey from a young cricket enthusiast in Rockhampton to a stalwart in Australian women’s cricket is a testament to her unwavering dedication and exceptional talent. As she continues to shine on the international stage, she remains an inspiration to aspiring cricketers worldwide.