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Uncapped quicks in World Cup squad

Fast bowlers Sarah Aley and Belinda Vakarewa named in Australia Women's World Cup squad

Uncapped fast bowlers Sarah Aley and Belinda Vakarewa are in line to make their international debuts on the biggest stage after being named in Australia's final 15-player squad for next month's Women's World Cup.

Aley, 32, was part of Australia's T20 squad that hosted New Zealand in February but her services were not called upon during that three-game series, while fellow right-armer Vakarewa - who only made her state debut last October - has earned her maiden call-up at the age of just 19 after a strong domestic summer, while she also toured Sri Lanka with the Australia A team in April.

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Both hailing from NSW, the pair have been called into the squad to replace injured left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle and retired seamer Rene Farrell for the tournament in England.

Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington 

They join Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt to round out a new-look Southern Stars pace attack for the World Cup, which begins on June 24.

"This is going to be one of the most tightly contested World Cups in recent times and we have chosen 15 players that we believe are capable of leading Australia to victory," National Selector Shawn Flegler said.

"Belinda Vakarewa is an exciting young talent who has made the most of her opportunities that have come her way with the Shooting Stars and more recently during the three-week camp held in Brisbane.

"She adds some extra firepower with her pace and we're excited to see what she can do.

"Sarah Aley will also add some extra depth to our bowling attack and brings an incredible amount of experience to the group which is invaluable in a tournament like this."

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Another teenager, 19-year-old off-spinning allrounder Ashleigh Gardner, has consolidated her spot in the Australian squad after making her ODI debut in New Zealand in March, while experienced batter Rachael Haynes' dream return to international cricket has continued, with the 30-year-old also retaining her spot after impressing in her first ODI since 2013 in late February.

Gardner forms part of a varied Australian spin attack, alongside left-armer Jess Jonassen and leg-spinners Kristen Beams and Amanda-Jade Wellington.

"Ashleigh Gardner is another young player that has really impressed and (with teammates) will form a strong spin attack that provides a range of options with the ball," Flegler said.

"We're pleased to have Rachael Haynes back in the squad after suffering an ankle injury earlier in the year and she too brings a wealth of experience having played in World Cups and in English conditions.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for this team, with the chance to stake their claim as one of the most successful sporting teams in Australian sport."

Belinda Vakarewa has made an impact for Sydney Thunder // Getty
Belinda Vakarewa has made an impact for Sydney Thunder // Getty

Australia’s World Cup campaign will not be impacted should a new Memorandum of Understanding not be agreed upon by July 1, with Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland last week confirming that, "in the absence of a new MOU, the Australian Women’s World Cup Squad will be paid in advance of the June/July World Cup and will be employed until the end of the event".

Australia will finalise their preparations at a two-week camp beginning in Brisbane next Monday, with the second week to take place on the Sunshine Coast.

The Southern Stars will begin their quest for a record seventh World Cup on June 26, against the West Indies at The Country Ground, Taunton.

England, New Zealand, West Indies, India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka join Australia in the tournament, with each side to meet once ahead of semi-finals in Bristol and Derby.

The final will be played at Lord's on July 23.

Australia will be looking to repeat the success they had at the most recent World Cup in 2013, when they defeated West Indies in the final.


Women's World Cup 2017 Guide


Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington

Squads: Every World Cup squad named so far

Australia's World Cup schedule


View the full tournament schedule here


Warm-up matches


June 20: Australia v South Africa, Oakham


June 22: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester


Tournament


June 26: Australia v West Indies, Taunton


June 29: Australia v Sri Lanka, Bristol


July 2: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol


July 5: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester


July 9: Australia v England, Bristol


July 12: Australia v India, Bristol


July 15: Australia v South Africa, Taunton


July 18: First semi-final, Bristol


July 20: Second semi-final, Derby


July 23: Final, Lord's


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