Shooting Stars squad for Sri Lanka tour named

Australia's best emerging female players will travel to Sri Lanka in March for a limited overs tri-series also featuring an England development team

A host of Australia's most exciting young female talent has been named in the Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars squad to travel to Sri Lanka next month. 

The Shooting Stars will meet development squads from Sri Lanka and England in a limited-overs tri-series, with players selected on the back of strong performances in the Rebel Women's Big Bash League and the 50-over Women's National Cricket League this summer.

Women's National Selection Panel Chairman Shawn Flegler said the Sri Lanka tri-series was an opportunity for players to push their case for international selection, with the Southern Stars set to tour the nation in September. 

"We’ve identified these players as having the potential to play for Australia in the future and we’re looking forward to seeing how they go in the challenging conditions on the Sub-Continent," Flegler said.

"These players have all impressed at different stages this summer and it will be a good test to see how they contend with England and Sri Lanka’s development squads."

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Big-hitting batter Naomi Stalenberg, who made her T20 debut for Australia last month, has been named in the 13-player squad after missing out on a place in the Southern Stars' 15-player group to tackle the World T20 in India, one of four New South Wales players included.

Sophie Molineux, who was the leading run scorer at last month's Under-18 National Championships and captained Victoria to the title, leads a contingent of three Victorians, while four members of the SA Breezair Scorpions XI who made history with their first-ever WNCL title in November have also won places in the side, led by impressive 18-year-old leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington.

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"We’re keen to see the continued development of these promising and exciting players, including Naomi Stalenberg who made her Australian T20 debut this summer and Sophie Molineux who played well during the WBBL then went back to the U18s and dominated her age group," Flegler said.

"Ash Gardner is another exciting player who has performed well at domestic level and at the recent National Indigenous Championships in Alice Springs."

Of the 13-player squad, all but one were part of the inaugural season of the WBBL, while five were named in the history-making Governor General's XI which met India in a washed out clash in Sydney last month.

The Shooting Stars, coached by former Southern Stars coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick, will play six one-day games before a final Twenty20 against England.

Shooting Stars squad: Megan Banting (WA, Scorchers), Ashleigh Gardner (NSW, Sixers), Heather Graham (WA, Scorchers), Nicola Hancock (Vic, Renegades), Alex Price (SA, Strikers), Amanda-Jade Wellington (SA, Strikers), Bridget Patterson (SA, Strikers), Sophie Molineux (Vic, Renegades), Lauren Smith (NSW, Sixers), Tahlia McGrath (SA, Strikers), Naomi Stalenberg (NSW, Thunder), Hayleigh Brennan (Vic), Belinda Vakarewa (NSW, Thunder)

Sri Lanka tri-series schedule

March 27 v England, Sinhalese Sports Club Ground

March 29 v Sri Lanka, Colts Ground

April 1 v England, P Sara Oval

April 3 v Sri Lanka, P Sara Oval

April 7 v England, RPICS

April 8 v Sri Lanka, RPICS

April 10 v England (T20)