Smith set for return as Australia name U19s to tour Sri Lanka

One of eight players with WBBL or WNCL experience in the 15-player squad, spinner Amy Smith is set to return for the sub-continent tour

Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes spinner Amy Smith is poised to return from injury to spearhead Australia’s Under-19s tour of Sri Lanka next month.

Smith, who was ruled out of Tasmania’s bid for a third straight Women’s National Cricket League title last month due to a neck injury, has been named in a 15-player squad for the white-ball tri-series against Sri Lanka and England.

The 19-year-old is among eight players with experience in either the WNCL or the Weber WBBL included in the squad, which will be coached by former Australia spinner Kristen Beams.

Australia U19 squad: Bonnie Berry, Maggie Clark, Samara Dulvin, Sienna Eve, Lucy Finn, Hasrat Gill, Lucy Hamilton, Amy Hunter, Eleanor Larosa, Grace Lyons, Ines McKeon, Juliette Morton, Kate Pelle, Amy Smith, Tegan Williamson 

The tour, which will see Australia play four T20s and two one-dayers form March 28 to April 9, will give players an ideal chance to prepare for next year’s ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in Malaysia.

Australia made the semi-finals of the inaugural event in South Africa last year, as India defeated England in the final.

Sharp catching a feature of Smith's five-wickets

Sydney Sixers wicketkeeper Kate Pelle, who stepped up to cover for an injured Alyssa Healy in WBBL|09, has been included in the squad, as has Brisbane Heat left-arm quick Lucy Hamilton and Eleanor Larosa, who made her senior debut for South Australia last month.

Maggie Clarke, a 16-year-old quick who was a breakout star of Australia’s U19 World Cup campaign last year taking 12 wickets, has also been named.

"The series in Sri Lanka will give the squad the chance to play in a multi-format series and challenge them to adapt to different conditions," Beams said.

"The T20 matches will provide the squad with a great development opportunity ahead of the U19 T20 World Cup and we're also excited about the 50-over matches.  

"We are also looking to give players a chance to develop their leadership skills across the series."

Young gun Pelle takes a one-handed blinder

This will be the first Australian women’s U19s team to travel overseas (not in a World Cup) since 2019, when a group toured New Zealand, and the series comes as Cricket Australia expand their women’s pathways opportunities.

Australia are expected to host a reciprocal U19 tour at the start of the 2024-25 season.

Members of the U19s squad have been spending time with Australia’s senior players during the ongoing multi-format series against South Africa, taking part in warm-ups and assisting with drinks duties as they soaked up the chance to learn from the world’s best.

2024 Australian Women’s Under-19 Tour of Sri Lanka

T20 Series

March 28: Sri Lanka v Australia

March 29: Australia v England

March 30: Sri Lanka v England

April 1: Sri Lanka v Australia

April 2: Australia v England

April 3: England v Sri Lanka 

One-Day Series

April 5: Sri Lanka v Australia 

April 7: Australia v England  

April 9: Sri Lanka v England

Venues TBC