Tearaway quick Tayla Vlaeminck and opening batter Nicole Bolton have been included in a strong Australia squad to travel to the United Kingdom for the upcoming Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes tour.
The 14-player group to contest the multi-format, points-based series was unveiled by Cricket Australia on Tuesday, with Bolton and Vlaeminck returning to the fold after missing the ODI series against New Zealand earlier this year.
However, allrounder Sophie Molineux has missed out on a spot in the touring party as she recovers from the shoulder surgery that prematurely ended her domestic summer, instead included in the Australia A squad that will tour the UK at the same time as the senior side.
Australia's Ashes squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Selectors have named one squad to cover all three formats in the UK – the Ashes rivals will meet in three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is from July 2 – including five potential Test debutants, alongside the 13-strong ‘A’ group.
The concurrent nature of the tours is an added bonus for Australia, who could call upon ‘A’ players at any point during the tour if form or fitness required.
Bolton missed the one-dayers against the White Ferns due to personal reasons, taking a short break from cricket, but returned to the fold for the Australian group’s recent camp at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre.
Vlaeminck has recovered from the partial ACL tear that saw her sidelined from the Rebel WBBL in January and after impressing her coaches and teammates alike with her sheer pace in Brisbane, will feature in her first Ashes series.
JUST IN: @SouthernStars have unveiled their squad for the #Ashes! More: https://t.co/KSFiyODa4M pic.twitter.com/O7rKko5bZV— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) June 3, 2019
The pair are the only additions to what is a stable core Australian group, ranked No.1 in both limited-overs formats – no Test rankings exist for women’s teams – and coming off a golden 12-month period that saw them win 24 of 26 matches and claim a fourth T20 World Cup title.
The 20-year-old Vlaeminck made her international debut late last year and is regarded as one of the country’s fastest female bowlers.
"Tayla was under an injury cloud but she’s back bowling and has had a terrific off-season up in Brisbane, so we’re really excited to see what she can do in English conditions," National Selector Shawn Flegler said.
"Sophie has been doing everything she could do prove her fitness having had a shoulder reconstruction back in February, but she still needs a bit more time to make sure she’s 100 per cent so she’ll travel to England with the Australia A side.
"We’re fortunate to be able to take an Australia A side to England as well which will give us flexibility with the squad as we move through the various formats."
Vlaeminck’s inclusion means left-arm speedster Lauren Cheatle – who returned to Australian colours against New Zealand – misses out.
Up to five players could be handed Baggy Greens when the one-off Test gets underway in Taunton on July 18 – Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Delissa Kimmince, Tayla Vlaeminck and Georgia Wareham.
Meanwhile, a host of current international hopefuls and up-and-coming young guns have been named in the Australia ‘A’ squad to be coached by Leah Poulton.
Australia A squad: Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Josie Dooley, Heather Graham, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Rachel Trenaman, Belinda Vakarewa, Amanda-Jade Wellington
They’ll play a series of 50-over and 20-over matches against England and an England Academy side, while also taking on England in a three-day red-ball warm-up ahead of the Ashes Test.
It includes National Performance Squad members Maitlan Brown, Josie Dooley, Heather Graham, Tahlia McGrath, Annabel Sutherland, Rachel Trenaman, Belinda Vakarewa and Amanda-Jade Wellington.
Experienced campaigners Erin Burns, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Molly Strano and Georgia Redmayne have also been rewarded for outstanding 2018-19 summers with spots in the squad.
"This tour is a terrific opportunity for these players to test themselves in notoriously tricky English conditions, with most of the squad also part of the Australia A tour to India last year," Flegler said.
"We have a really strong pathway in place for our female cricketers and this group represents the next generation of Australian players, so to be able to invest and give them this experience is incredibly valuable."
Australia’s Ashes warm-up fixtures have also been confirmed, with Lanning’s team to meet the England Women’s Academy in 50-over games in Loughborough on June 26 and 28, and in a three-day red-ball match in Swindon from July 11-13.
The Australian squad will assemble in Brisbane from June 13 for a pre-tour camp before departing for England on June 21.
Australia A schedule
June 29: England v Australia A, Loughborough
July 3: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
July 5: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
July 8: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
Three-day tour match
July 12-14: England v Australia A, Millfield School, Street
July 17: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Millfield School, Street
July 19: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Millfield School, Street
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
June 26: England Academy v Australia, Loughborough
June 28: England Academy v Australia, Loughborough
July 2: First ODI, Grace Road, Leicester
July 11-13: England Academy v Australia, Marlborough College, Swindon
July 18-21: Only Test, The County Ground, Taunton
July 26: First T20, County Ground, Chelmsford
July 28: Second T20, The County Ground, Hove
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins