Southern Stars v India T20s
Young guns given chance against India
The Southern Stars will be keeping one eye on the World T20 when they meet India this week
25 January 2016, 04:12 PM AEST
Two uncapped young guns will be among those hoping to put forward their cases for spots in the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars' World T20 squad during this week's three-match T20 series against India.
On the eve of the first T20 International in Adelaide, Southern Stars skipper Meg Lanning said the series would be a golden opportunity to work out Australia's best combination ahead of next month's tour of New Zealand and their bid for a fourth-straight Women's World T20 title in March.
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Left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle, 17, and middle-order batter Naomi Stalenberg, 21, were included in the 13-player T20 squad after impressive performances during the Rebel Women's Big Bash League and Lanning indicated the pair were likely to be given opportunities this week.
"Stalenberg and Cheatle have done fantastic jobs in the WBBL. It's given them extra opportunities with all the games and they've really stood out," Lanning said.
"(Cheatle) has shown she can swing the new ball which as a left-hander coming into the right-handed bat that’s a good skill to have.
"It's great to see young players in the squad will get their chance.
"We're trying to find the best combination, the best team that will win us the World T20, but first and foremost we’re trying to win this series against India."
Watch: Cheatle, Stalenberg bolt into Stars squad
There will be plenty on the line for the Southern Stars during the three-match series – not least of all the chance to claim yet more silverware against a relatively unknown opponent, who they last met in 2012.
With spots in the squads for New Zealand and the World T20 also up for grabs there will be added pressure to impress, particularly with the strength of talent – both young and established – waiting in the wings.
Quick single: India an unknown for Southern Stars
Off-spinner Erin Osborne and opener Elyse Villani were both omitted from the Southern Stars squad to play India, but have since bounced back with very strong performances in the latter stages of the WBBL.
Osborne was player of the match for the Thunder in Sunday's final, taking 3-21, while Villani posted unbeaten scores of 72 and 43 after a slow start for the Perth Scorchers.
"There's certainly a big group of players we could have picked for this series, so it's great that there's a lot of depth within Australian cricket and we look forward to seeing how the young girls go," Lanning said.
The Southern Stars claimed a 3-0 series win when they travelled to India in 2012, but fell to a 2-0 series loss last time the teams met on Australian soil in 2009.
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With India led by captain Mithali Raj, ranked in the ICC's top 10 batters in both white-ball formats, and boasting the top-ranked female ODI bowler in Jhulan Goswani, Lanning said the Southern Stars would not be taking the world's fourth-ranked team lightly.
"It's a good challenge to play a team we haven't played against recently,” she said. “They have some dangerous players and we're looking forward to the challenge.”
Women's cricket has enjoyed a golden summer, with strong crowds and television audiences embracing the first-ever WBBL tournament.
Watch: In the sheds with the WBBL champs
Lanning said she hoped the Southern Stars could now carry that momentum through the T20 Internationals, to be played as double headers alongside Australia’s men in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney and broadcast live on the Nine Network.
"There's no doubt that as a team we want to play exciting cricket and we want to be really attacking with both bat and ball,” she said.
"The WBBL has given us a great platform to work off and now we've got the best players from that competition playing for Australia.
"We want to take the game on as much as we can, especially in the T20 format."
Southern Stars (from): Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell, Lauren Cheatle, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg
India (from): Mithali Raj (c), Jhulan Goswamy, Smriti Mandhana, MD Thirushkamini, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Niranjana Nagarajan, Sushma Verma, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, VR Vanitha, Anuja Patil, Deepti Sharma
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