Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2012/11/13/shooting-stars-chance-to-shine

Shooting Stars' chance to shine

UPDATED 13 February, 2013 11:57AM AEST | by Omnisport 1

The Trans-Tasman rivalry will be re-ignited in Blacktown this week as Australia's Shooting Stars host New Zealand A in a four-match series with both countries ramping up their preparations for the Women's World Cup.

The one-day tournament starts Wednesday at Blacktown Olympic Park Oval with the tour concluding on November 21.

National selector Julie Savage said the series would serve as an audition for February's World Cup in India.

"This series is very important. It gives us as a selection panel the chance to see these players in an international competition," Savage said.

"It gives us a sense of where our depth is at as a country because international cricket gives a different indication compared with domestic cricket."

Savage said players who stood out against the Kiwis would be rewarded when Australia's World Cup squad was named.

"They will certainly be in contention. There is a fair bit of competition for spots ahead of when a squad of 30 gets cut down to 15 in late December," she said.

"It's also important for the players to set a benchmark for themselves."

While there is much to be achieved individually, the Australian squad will also be determined to claim a series victory against their fierce rivals from across the Tasman.

The teams last faced off when the Shooting Stars travelled to New Zealand in March, with the Shooting Stars claiming a 3-2 victory.

"There is certainly a strong rivalry. The last series was extremely hard fought and we are expecting the same again," Savage said.

Both sides will field a blend of experience and young talent.

"We've selected a few of our Southern Stars players with a view to them having a hit out ahead of selection for the 50-over World Cup (in India) as well as a few up-and-coming players," Savage said.

"Judging by New Zealand's squad, they've done the same thing."

The Shooting Stars boast a dangerous bowling line up headed by WA Fury spinner Renee Chappell and fast bowlers Megan Schutt (SA Scorpions) and Holly Ferling (Queensland Fire).

Nicole Bolton, averaging 102 this season with WA Fury, will lead the batting line up along with Lauren Ebsary (SA Scorpions).

But Savage stressed the team was full of potential match-winners.

"I don't think we are relying on any one player. It's a really balanced, all-round side and we are expecting a consistent performance across the whole series," she said.

Savage was forced to make a late change to the squad after Queensland Fire batter Mellissa Bulow on Tuesday announced her retirement from international cricket.

NSW Breakers youngster Sarah Coyte, the sister of NSW Blues all-rounder Adam, was named as Bulow's replacement.

New Zealand A's 14-player squad arrived in Sydney on Monday and their depth is certain to test the hosts.

Auckland Hearts player Maddy Green will captain the Kiwis who have made four changes from the side which hosted the Shooting Stars earlier this year.

Seven players in the squad have White Ferns experience, including recent ICC Women's World Twenty20 stars Katie Perkins, Kate Broadmore and Morna Nielsen.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 13 November, 2012 3:16PM AEST

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