Australia are confident they will retain the Ashes despite the disappointment of their Women’s World Cup semi-final defeat, vice-captain Alex Blackwell says.
Australia’s World Cup campaign came to an early end in the United Kingdom last month, when Meg Lanning’s team was shocked in the semi-final by India.
England went on to win a thrilling final at Lord’s and while Blackwell admitted Australia were “devastated” to come home without the trophy, she also acknowledged it set the scene for a riveting battle between the world’s top two teams when the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes get underway on October 22.
“We’re still ranked No.1 and while it was devastating we didn’t win (the World Cup), it was a great tournament,” Blackwell said. “I would say we’re confident we can win the Ashes.”
Unlike the men’s five-Test series, the women’s Ashes are a multi-format series encompassing three ODIs, three T20Is and a Test, with the winner decided by a points system (four points are awarded to the winner of the Test and two for each of the limited-overs matches).
Having just experienced the hype of the World Cup in England – where a packed crowd of more of 4000 people in Bristol witnessed the final-ball group-stage thriller between Australia and the hosts - Blackwell called on local fans to pack out the matches to be held in Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Sydney and Canberra.
“From the World Cup one of the highlights for me was that match against England and the incredible support from the crowd for both teams,” she said.
“It went to the last ball … now the two best teams in world are going to come up against each other in the multi-format Ashes and that’s something everyone should look out for.
“The women’s Ashes format is an unbelievable format, to be tested across all three formats. It’s a really exciting thing to be a part of.”
Adding to the excitement is the fact this year’s Test at North Sydney Oval will be the first ever women’s day-night Test, and the first pink-ball Ashes Test for either gender.
While it will be unfamiliar territory for both teams, who already only play a Test once every two years, Blackwell said the Australians were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to wear the Baggy Green under lights.
“We’re embracing the whole event,” Blackwell said. “It will be an historic occasion and I encourage locals to come to North Sydney Oval, pack it out and make it a great day for everyone.”
The majority of Australia’s World Cup squad have now returned home after a short break following their semi-final exit.
Five Australians – Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani, Kristen Beams, Jess Jonassen and Rene Farrell - remain in the United Kingdom for the England Women’s Super League, while the remainder of Australia’s Ashes squad hopefuls have commenced pre-season training.
There will be one crucial round of Women’s National Cricket League action before the first Ashes one-day international in Brisbane on October 22, while contenders will also take part in a training camp in Queensland in September.
Tickets for the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes went on sale to the public today, with tickets priced at $10 for adults, $5 for concession and children are free.
First ODI Allan Border Field, October 22
Brisbane Charity Partner: Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust
Second ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 26
Third ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 29
Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT