Australia v New Zealand T20Is - Women
Aussies name fresh faces to take on New Zealand
The T20 World Cup champions have named their squad for next month's home limited-overs series against their trans-Tasman rivals
21 August 2020, 11:11 AM AEST
Superstar allrounder Ellyse Perry has been included in Australia’s squad for the upcoming limited-overs series against New Zealand, while up-and-coming pace bowler Maitlan Brown is in line for an international debut.
Australia have named a bumper 18-player squad for their three T20Is and three ODIs against the White Ferns, with the series scheduled to begin late next month.
The touring party for the Commonwealth Bank series includes all 15 members of Australia’s triumphant T20 World Cup squad, alongside pace-bowling allrounder Tahlia McGrath, and quicks Belinda Vakarewa and Brown.
Australia ODI & T20I Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry*, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Belinda Vakarewa *subject to fitness
It is the first time the world champions will take the field since their victory in front of 86,174 people at the MCG on March 8, held just days before the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into lockdown.
In a statement, Cricket Australia said: "The schedule for the series has matches in both New South Wales and Queensland but given the current COVID situation changes may be required. Cricket Australia will continue to work with relevant authorities and advise any changes."
Perry underwent surgery in March on the hamstring she injured during a group match against New Zealand, and the 29-year-old has been able to continue her recovery in Melbourne having been granted an exemption from Victoria's 'stage four' COVID-19 restrictions (the toughest in the country) along with the rest of the state's elite male and female cricketers.
"Ellyse is progressing well from a significant hamstring injury and we want to give her every chance to be available for selection, so we’ll continue to monitor her progress over the coming weeks," National Selector Shawn Flegler said.
However the news is not so positive for fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck, who was ruled out on the eve of the World Cup with stress fractures in her right foot.
After a recent setback, she will miss the series and the entire Rebel WBBL, where she had signed for the Hobart Hurricanes.
The postponement of the 2021 ODI World Cup to early 2022 means Australia have the luxury of easing the right-arm quick back into elite-level cricket.
"Tayla had a recurrence of right medial ankle pain three weeks ago as she was working through her rehab from the navicular stress fracture she sustained in February," Australian Team Physiotherapist Kate Beerworth said.
"Her recovery has been trending in right direction but it’s just not going to be soon enough for the demands on international cricket and a busy Big Bash schedule.
"The tricky nature of a navicular injury means it’s more a long-term play and we’ll be guided by Tayla’s symptoms as we look to get her back to full fitness.
"She’s only young and it’s important we look after her future, so we won’t rush anything."
The extended squad has been named due to the strict biosecurity arrangements that will be in place for the series, which would make it extremely difficult for a player to be added to the squad late should illness or injury strike.
With that in mind, it’s Australia’s pace stocks that have been bolstered through the addition of McGrath, Vakarewa and Brown.
McGrath, who was handed her first Cricket Australia contract earlier this year after an impressive domestic summer and who has been earmarked as a player of interest for the ODI World Cup, makes her return to an Australian squad for the first time since the 2017 Ashes.
Vakarewa’s outstanding form for the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL last season has been rewarded with her first call-up since the 2018 tour of India.
The 22-year-old right-arm pace bowler has played one ODI for Australia, during the 2017 World Cup in the United Kingdom.
Brown, 23, has been called up to the national squad for the first time, but the ACT and Renegades pace bowler has been a familiar face on Australia A tours for the past several years.
"The door has really opened for players like Maitlan, who joins the squad for the first time, and fellow fast-bowler Belinda who has previously represented Australia," Flegler said.
"Belinda only just missed out on T20 World Cup selection while Maitlan has impressed through her time in the National Performance Squad and Australia A
"Tahlia is in the mix to play her first match for Australia in a few years.
"She’s an extremely talented batter and up-and-coming leader so we look forward to seeing what she can do throughout this series."
Off-spinner Molly Strano, who was a late addition to the World Cup squad following Vlaeminck’s injury, has been handed another opportunity, as has allrounder Erin Burns, who carried a knee injury into the ICC tournament and did not take the field during Australia’s campaign.
Speaking to cricket.com.au earlier this week, Australia coach Matthew Mott said he planned to field his strongest XI across the series but noted it would be important to manage workloads – particularly for the fast bowlers – coming out of a less-than-ideal preseason.
"We’ll never hand out an Australian cap for the sake of it and we’ve always made that really clear, but we’ve also got to be smart," he said.
"We’ll have to manage bowling loads for the pace attack, particularly in those ODIs.
"The players have come out of a winter program … to expect them to go full stride and play six games on the bounce is highly improbable so we need to be calculated and flexible as well."
Although the ODI World Cup has been postponed, Australia will be determined to continue their recent dominance over New Zealand, who they last lost to in early 2017.
Meg Lanning’s team have claimed six ODI and five T20Is on the bounce since, while they have held the Rose Bowl Trophy – the silverware awarded for one-day series between the teams – since 2000.
Australia have won 18 ODIs in a row and have a chance to equal the world record for consecutive ODI wins held by Ricky Ponting’s team of 2003.