Left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle and allrounder Tahlia McGrath have been recalled to Australia’s ODI and Test squads for the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes, with young guns among six players in line to receive maiden Baggy Greens next month.
Australia named their squads for the three ODIs and one-off day-night Test match at North Sydney Oval on Tuesday, with Cheatle returning to the international ranks for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year.
The Women’s Ashes operate under a multi-format points system, with Australia’s squad for the three T20Is to be announced following the third ODI on October 28.
Australia ODI Squad: Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (VC), Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (C), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Australia Test Squad: Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (VC), Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (C), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Cheatle and McGrath are the only two new faces in the 14-player ODI squad, with three players missing from the group who travelled to the UK for the Women’s World Cup in June - quicks Sarah Aley and Belinda Vakarewa, and injured captain Meg Lanning, who had already been ruled out of the entire summer with a shoulder injury.
The pair have also been included in a 15-strong Test squad – which will be reduced to 13 following a three-day pink-ball warm-up against an ACT XI early next month – alongside fellow uncapped Test players Vakarewa, opener Beth Mooney, leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington and allrounder Ashleigh Gardner.
Cheatle, 18, made her return to cricket on Sunday for NSW Lend Lease Breakers in their Women’s National Cricket League clash against Victoria, bowling seven overs for figures of 0-31.
She has not represented her country since the ODI tour of New Zealand earlier this year, with the shoulder injury ending her World Cup hopes.
McGrath has been recalled having played one ODI for Australia, against South Africa in Coffs Harbour last November. The 21-year-old fast-bowling allrounder battled stress fractures in her back during the off-season and is still building up her bowling loads, but scored 80 for South Australia on Sunday and sent down four overs.
Gardner and Wellington are both strong chances to be handed their maiden Baggy Greens after making impressive starts to their international careers during the last 12 months. Gardner, 20, became only the second Indigenous woman to play for Australia earlier this year when she made her T20I debut against New Zealand and has since cemented her spot in Australia’s one-day XI, while Wellington took a wicket with her first delivery in international cricket last November and is considered a serious wicket-taking threat with her big-turning leg spin.
“This was a really tough selection process for the Panel with some talented players missing out, but we’re confident we have selected a balanced side that has the potential to beat England and retain the Ashes,” National Selector Shawn Flegler said.
“Of the 15 players selected across the weekend, eight posted scores of 50 or more for their domestic sides, including four centuries, whilst fast-bowlers Lauren Cheatle and Tahlia McGrath made successful returns from injury.
“It’s important with the multi-format nature of this series to start well, and whilst the big prize is retaining the Ashes, this series presents a golden opportunity for the team to reinstate themselves as the number one ranked side in the world.”
A Cricket Australia XI to play England in two 50-over tour matches next week has also been named, featuring off-spinner Molly Strano, who made her T20I debut in February, and National Performance Squad members Vakarewa, Sophie Molineux, Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham and Rachel Trenaman.
Cricket Australia XI: Hayleigh Brennan, Nicola Carey, Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham, Alana King, Katie Mack, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Redmayne, Naomi Stalenberg, Molly Strano (c), Rachel Trenaman, Belinda Vakarewa, Tayla Vlaeminck
“To have a CAXI included in this series is really exciting and it’s a great chance for the players who have been selected to test themselves against the number one team in the world,” Female High Performance Coach Leah Poulton said.
“Whilst they weren’t considered for selection due to their involvement in Australia’s 50-over tour matches, there’s some exciting young talent coming out of Queensland as well which is great to see.
“Opportunities like this ensure we continue to develop the players capable of representing Australia in the future and adding to the depth of talent in Australian cricket.”
Fans can secure their tickets to the remaining Ashes matches for just $10 for adults and $5 for concessions*, while kids can get in for free^.
*At match price. $2.95 per transaction ticket agency fee applies to purchases elsewhere.
^ Kids 15 years and under at date of match. Kids will still need a valid match ticket. Book free kids’ tickets with yours.
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes
First ODI Allan Border Field, October 22
Brisbane Charity Partner: Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust
Second ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 26
Third ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 29
Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT