Cheatle, Stalenberg bolt into Stars squad

Sydney Thunder young guns rewarded for strong WBBL form with Southern Stars call up

Uncapped young guns Lauren Cheatle and Naomi Stalenberg are in line for their international debuts after being named in the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad for the upcoming limited-overs series against India.

The Sydney Thunder pair's excellent Rebel Women's Big Bash League campaigns to date have been enough to see them force their way into the 13-player Twenty20 squad, which will meet India in three T20Is from January 26. 

Left-arm quick Cheatle is just 17 years old and still attending high school, but is rated among the fastest female bowlers in the country.

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After impressing with seven wickets from five matches for the Lend Lease Breakers in the Women's National Cricket League late last year, she currently sits third on the wicket-taking table in the WBBL with 17 scalps at 15.76.

Stalenberg, 21, made her Breakers debut in 2013 and has impressed with her big-hitting abilities for the Thunder.

Watch: Stalenberg sends one to the boundary against the 'Gades

While her highest score is 42, her 160 runs have come at a strike rate of 150.94, including knocks of 42 from 23 balls, 39 from 19, and 37 from 15.

"The T20 squad has been selected with an eye to the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in March and includes two new faces," Women's National Selection Panel Chair of Selectors Shawn Flegler said.

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"Cheatle is a 17-year-old left-arm quick who can swing the ball into right-handers and has shown great composure in her second and third spells during the WNCL.

"Naomi Stalenberg has been a real standout with her aggressive middle-order batting, displaying great power and a healthy strike rate."

Watch: Cheatle impresses in Sydney Smash

Speaking to cricket.com.au last week, Southern Stars coach Matthew Mott spoke highly of the pair's potential.

"I reckon there're been some names up there that wouldn't be household names but who we've had an eye on for a while," Mott told cricket.com.au.

"We've had selectors at every WBBL game and we've got to see every player.

"Young Naomi Stalenberg from the Thunder has done well so far, she had a great WNCL final as well and we're certainly watching her progress.

"There's a few times she's scored 40 off 20 balls and that's what we're looking for as a way to take Twenty20s forward.

"We're looking for batters to push the envelope, we're trying to get our par score up which has been around the 120 mark internationals for a while and we're trying to push the boundaries to make 135 to 140 our minimum benchmark. So players like that certainly come into calculations.

"Cheatle has also been exceptional with the ball all season."

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While Cheatle and Stalenberg feature in the T20 squad, their places are taken by experienced opening batter Nicole Bolton and leg-spinner Kristen Beams for the 50-over matches.

"Kristen Beams is recovering from a dislocated thumb and we will monitor her fitness closer to the start of the ODI component of the series," Flegler said.

"There have been a number of players putting their hand up for selection in the WBBL with matches still remaining – and an upcoming tour to New Zealand in February – for players to keep pushing their case for World Cup selection," Flegler said.

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In-form Brisbane Heat allrounder Grace Harris has retained her place in the Southern Stars' squad after being called in as a replacement for fellow Queenslander Delissa Kimmince during the Women's Ashes, with the latter missing out on a berth in the ODI and T20 squads.

Sydney Thunder off-spinner Erin Osborne, who has been recovering from a split webbing injury, has missed out on a spot in the squad, while opening batter Elyse Villani has been omitted after a below-par return for the Perth Scorchers to date, averaging 15.66 from 11 matches.

The Southern Stars' biggest names have been impressive in WBBL|01 to date, with skipper Meg Lanning sitting atop the WBBL runs table with 505 runs at 72.15 including five fifties, while superstar allrounder Ellyse Perry has made up for a slow start to the season and is now third on the charts with 381 runs. Vice-captain Alex Blackwell (295 runs at 73.75) is also in very good touch.

Seamers Rene Farrell (16 wickets) and Holly Ferling (15) have both been impressive, as has Beams, with 14 scalps, while allrounder Jess Jonassen has taken 10 wickets and scored two fifties.

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The three T20s between the Southern Stars and India will be played as double headers alongside the men and broadcast on the Nine Network. The three day-night ODI matches will be played at Manuka Oval (February 2) and Blundstone Arena (February 5 and 7).

The series kicks off a busy period for the No.1 ranked Southern Stars, who will head to New Zealand for a limited-overs tour in late February before they aim for a fourth-straight Women's WorldT20 title in India in March.

Southern Stars T20 squad: Meg Lanning, Alex Blackwell, Lauren Cheatle, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg

Southern Stars ODI squad: Meg Lanning, Alex Blackwell, Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt

Southern Stars v India T20s:

January 26: Southern Stars v India (Adelaide Oval), 2.30pm AEDT

January 29: Southern Stars v India (MCG), 2.30pm AEDT

January 31: Southern Stars v India (SCG), 2.30pm AEDT

Southern Stars v India ODIs:

February 2: Southern Stars v India (Manuka Oval), 2.30pm AEDT

February 5: Southern Stars v India (Blundstone Arena), 2.30pm AEDT

February 7: Southern Stars v India (Blundstone Arena), 2.30pm AEDT