CommBank T20 Series v NZ
Fresh faces add an edge to Aussies
Uncapped teenagers Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck could cause problems for more than the opposition batters
Laura Jolly at North Sydney Oval
27 September 2018, 07:30 AM AEST
Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy is relishing the challenge presented by the squad's two newest additions as she prepares for the opening T20 International against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.
The hosts have included two uncapped teenagers in their 13-player squad for the Commonwealth Bank Women's T20 series; Victorians Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck.
Vlaeminck, 19, is a right-arm fast bowler who has yet to make her Rebel WBBL debut, but her raw pace has Australia's coaches and selectors excited.
She's capable of sending the ball down faster than any of her new teammates, with coach Matthew Mott noting earlier this month: "She rips in and bowls fast and she looks to hit the wicket, she bowls a good bouncer … a lot of the skills we've been craving for a while."
And the Bendigo product has pledged to give it a rip if selected to make her debut against New Zealand, promising to "bowl as fast as I can".
Leg-spinner Wareham, meanwhile, already boasts the sorts of skills many bowlers twice her age would love to have mastered. Also 19, she captured the attention of selectors for her control and speed through the air and her ability to beat both sides of the bat.
Star allrounder Delissa Kimmince chats to Aussie squad inductee Georgia Wareham ahead of Saturday's big game! #WATCHME pic.twitter.com/9oa6E8enIl— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@SouthernStars) September 26, 2018
Their additions are an added challenge for Healy, renowned as one of the world's best 'keepers for her lightning-fast ability behind the stumps.
"It is exciting for me," Healy said ahead of Australian training on Wednesday. "A lot of the time in T20 cricket I've been keeping up to the stumps, but more and more, especially in the last six months, I've been keeping back to a lot of the medium-fast bowlers.
"It's exciting that pace is coming back into the game and I think Australia are leading the way in that respect.
"It's exciting for me as a 'keeper to stand back and keep to a fast bowler, but also to a leg-spinner – that's always a good challenge."
Wareham and Vlaeminck linked up with their new Australian teammates and Tuesday, and Healy said the pair were settling in nicely.
"There's a few too many Victorians in the team if you ask me," she laughed. "But at the same time it's great to see some new faces in there.
"They're two young superstars of the game and hopefully we'll see them get an opportunity in the green and gold in the next couple of games.
"They're really exciting prospects for the future and it's great to see them get an opportunity."
Healy, who opens the batting alongside Beth Mooney in Australia's T20 XI, is happy with the touch she's been in through what's been a lengthy preseason with NSW and Australia, coming off a 75-ball 85 for the Breakers in last weekend's domestic 50-over action.
"I feel like I've been hitting the ball well all preseason, so it's about going out there and delivering on the big stage so hopefully I can transfer that on to Saturday night and get us off to a flier," she said.
"I'm ready to go, it's been a long preseason. A lot of training, so to finally get the opportunity to play (is good) and once we start, it's a busy couple of months.
"That's what I love, I hate training, I'm all about playing the game of cricket so I'm looking forward to that."
Australia's opening T20 against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval will be followed by matches at Brisbane's Allan Border Field (October 1) and Manuka Oval (October 5).
Thursday's warm-up game will be streamed live and free on cricket.com.au, the CA Live app and on the Australian Women's Cricket Team Facebook page.
CommBank T20 INTLs v NZ
Australia T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra