Eleven state or Rebel WBBL-contracted players have been included in Australia’s Under 19 squad to embark on an historic tour of South Africa in April.
The tour will be the first time Australia have sent an under-19 women’s team overseas, with the 14-player squad to meet South Africa and England in a tri-series.
It also ends a 15-year hiatus for the team, which last played in a 2003 series at home against England.
The squad includes Melbourne Stars quick Annabel Sutherland and wicketkeeper Nicole Faltum, who both made an impact in their first seasons with the club in WBBL|03.
They’re joined by fellow Victorians Tayla Vlaeminck – a 19-year-old fast bowler who has already endured not one, but two knee reconstructions – and leg-spinner Georgia Wareham, who were signed with Renegades this summer.
Thunder and NSW allrounder Rachel Trenaman and Strikers and SA quick Ellen Falconer are also part of the squad.
The youngest member of the squad is 14-year-old Hayley Silver-Holmes, while ‘keepers Faltum, Maddy Darke and Josie Dooley will share duties behind the stumps.
The tri-series will pit Australia against South Africa’s Emerging Women and England Women’s Academy across four 50-over matches and two Twenty20s.
The final will be played as a 50-over fixture on April 28.
Leadership duties will be split across the formats, with 16-year-old Trenaman to skipper the 50-over side, with Tasmanian Courtney Webb her deputy, whilst Saskia Horley will lead the T20 side with the support of Sutherland.
“I think it just goes to show how fast the female pathway has moved over the last few years,” Cricket Australia High Performance Coach and Under 19 Head Coach Leah Poulton said of the decision to reintroduce the under-19s team.
“It’s an exciting time for women’s cricket and if Australia wants to stay at the top we really need to invest in our pathway, which I believe we’re doing well.
“The tour presents a really good opportunity for the players to get a taste of what it’s like to be in an elite touring environment. Putting your skills to the test in a variety of different conditions and situations is an essential part of being an elite cricketer.
“England and South Africa are two very good teams who will present some good challenges for the group. We want the players to be tested and to be pushed outside their comfort zones and to have to adapt to the different situations they find themselves in.
“This is a really exciting group of players who I think all have big futures in the game so I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform.”
Australian Under 19 Tour of South Africa
Australia Under 19s: Stella Campbell (NSW, Sixers rookie), Maddy Darke (NSW), Hannah Darlington (NSW, Thunder), Josephine Dooley (Qld, Heat rookie), Ellen Falconer (SA, Strikers), Nicole Faltum (Vic, Stars), Saskia Horley (NSW), Hayley Silver-Holmes (NSW, Thunder rookie), Annabel Sutherland (Vic, Stars), Rachel Trenaman (NSW, Thunder), Tayla Vlaeminck (Vic, Renegades), Georgia Wareham (Vic, Renegades), Courtney Webb (Tas, Hurricanes rookie), Tahlia Wilson (NSW)
April 12 England Women Academy v Australia Under 19s, TUT Oval, Johannesburg (50-over)
April 14 South Africa Emerging Women v Australia, Elkah Stadium, Pretoria (50-over)
April 18 Australia v England, TUT Oval, Johannesburg (50-over)
April 20 South Africa v Australia, Tuks Oval, Pretoria (50-over)
April 24 England v Australia, Tuks Oval, Pretoria (T20)
April 26 Australia v England, TUT Oval, Johannesburg (T20)
Final Tuks Oval, Pretoria (50-over)