Stars ruled out, bolters named in squad to play India

New and returning faces included in Australia's 18-player squad for next month's multi-format series against India

Australia will be without their two highest ranked bowlers for next month's blockbuster showdown against India after selectors named an 18-player group featuring nine potential Test debutantes for the multi-format series.

Queensland batter Georgia Redmayne and 19-year-old NSW fast bowler Stella Campbell have been handed their first international call-ups for the Commonwealth Bank Series against India starting on September 19, which includes three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is.

Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

But Australia will be without star spinner Jess Jonassen, the world's top-ranked ODI bowler, who has been ruled out of the tour due to a stress reaction in her lower leg.

Swing bowler Megan Schutt, who sits in second spot in the ICC ODI bowling charts, requested not to be considered for selection due to personal reasons, as did recent squad member Belinda Vakarewa.

Maitlan Brown has been recalled after missing the tour of New Zealand in March and April due to a serious hamstring injury suffered during last year's WBBL, while Annabel Sutherland also returns to the fold after being a late omission from that trans-Tasman trip due to a stress fracture in her right femur.

The absence of Schutt will force Australia to re-think their bowling plans given the 28-year-old has been Australia's go-to with the new ball in ODIs and Tests since 2017.

Jonassen's experience and skill with her left-arm spin will also be missed but it does open the door for Sophie Molineux to return to the playing XI after the fellow left-arm orthodox allrounder spent the tour of New Zealand carrying the drinks.

"We're fully supportive of the requests from Belinda and Megan to not be considered for selection and will continue to work with them to ensure they have the appropriate support," National Selector Shawn Flegler said.

"As leader of the bowling attack, Megan's absence will provide the opportunity for someone else to play the type of role she has so well over a lengthy period.

"Jess is another big loss and will be disappointed to miss out, but she's another one that's worked hard over the winter and with a long summer ahead, her focus will be to get herself right with a lot of cricket left in the season."

Flegler said extra depth had been added to the pace-bowling ranks given the challenges of moving around Australia due to ongoing border closures, and with a busy schedule ahead that includes WBBL|07, domestic 50-over games, the multi-format Ashes starting in January and the ODI World Cup in New Zealand in March and April.

"Stella is yet another young fast bowler to have come through the pathway and adds another layer of depth to an emerging pace bowling group," Flegler said.

"She's a tall, bouncy fast bowler who we feel could be a real option throughout the series, particularly with the conditions in Perth.

"Having worked so hard to earn a call-up to the squad last summer, it's great to have Maitlan back after suffering a long-term injury at a really unfortunate time.

"We love the way she swings the ball early and the variety she offers and feel she's someone that can be turned to in any format.

"Sutherland's worked hard over the winter and we expect her to play an important role this summer. Her batting in particular will be important and having taken the opportunities that have come her way previously, we're looking forward to seeing what she can do this season."

Fire captain Redmayne lashes Victoria with superb ton

Redmayne's inclusion is reward for standout seasons in both the WBBL and WNCL last summer, where she starred for the Brisbane Heat before captaining Queensland to their maiden title, scoring three 50-over centuries along the way.

Redmayne is currently in the United Kingdom playing for the Welsh Fire in The Hundred, but with her team unable to make finals, she would be expected to return to Australia as soon as possible after their final match on Wednesday.

"Georgia's selection is recognition of the strong couple of domestic seasons she's produced, and it's been pleasing to see her really start to her expand game in recent times," Flegler continued.

"She provides strong cover for the top-order and adds good variety as a left-hander, with her keeping ability a bonus as well."

The series will see India and Australia meet for the first time since the 2020 T20 World Cup final, when 86,174 people watched Meg Lanning's team claim their fifth title.

The teams had been scheduled to meet in January this year but the series was shifted when the ODI World Cup was postponed until early 2022.

It is also the first time since the T20 World Cup - and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic - that Australia will play anyone other than New Zealand.

The Test at the WACA Ground will be the first played between Australia and India's women since 2007 and it'll be Australia's first match in the format since the 2019 Ashes in England.

Image Id: 76823AD5CA2248E9A6D0BA5CB4227F80 Image Caption: Stella Campbell in action for Sydney Sixers in WBBL|06 // Getty

Only nine members of the Australian group have previously worn the Baggy Green, ensuring at least two players will debut in the format at the WACA.

Redmayne, Campbell, Hannah Darlington and Maitlan Brown are yet to debut in any format, while Sutherland, Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Georgia Wareham and Molly Strano will be vying for maiden Test appearances.

As it stands, no changes to the schedule have been confirmed by Cricket Australia, with the first ODI currently slated for North Sydney Oval on September 19 before matches in Melbourne and Perth.

But with Greater Sydney in lockdown until at least the end of August, and all state and territory borders closed to those coming from NSW, disruption to those plans appears inevitable.

"Due to the current COVID challenges, Cricket Australia will continue to monitor the situation right across the country and will consider whether or not it needs to make any decisions regarding rescheduling or moving matches in due course," a statement read.

The two teams' preparations for the tour are also in strong contrast; the hosts will go into the series having not played together – or even held a camp, although they have been training in their state programs – since April, while India are coming off a challenging multi-format tour of England.

"It's great to be able to get this series off the ground having had to delay it last season and with so many world-class players across both sides, it's going to be very entertaining cricket," Flegler said.

"India have played well against Australia in recent times and it's going to be a real test for the group given they've not had any cricket in the lead-in."

Five of India's stars stayed on in the UK to participate in The Hundred, while a group of 30 players assembled in Bengaluru for a training camp on August 10.

The final selected squad will fly to Australia later this month, with their departure date yet to be publicly revealed.

CA are yet to confirm whether the multi-format series will be points-based with an overall winner, similar to the system currently used to determine the women's Ashes and which was used during India's recent tour of England.

CA have also yet to confirm whether the Decision Review System will be available for the series. While it is now available at women's ICC events, it has never been used in a bilateral women's series in Australia.

Commonwealth Bank Series v India

*Schedule is subject to change pending quarantine and border requirements

Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

Sep 19: First ODI, North Sydney Oval (D/N)

Sep 22: Second ODI, Junction Oval

Sep 24: Third ODI, Junction Oval

Sep 30 – Oct 3: Test match, WACA Ground (D/N)

Oct 7: First T20, North Sydney Oval

Oct 9: Second T20, North Sydney Oval

Oct 11: Third T20, North Sydney Oval