Lauren Cheatle and Jess Jonassen have been called into Australia’s 13-player squad to meet New Zealand in this month’s Commonwealth Bank ODI series.
Australia will meet the White Ferns in three one-dayers beginning at Perth’s WACA Ground on February 22, ahead of matches at Adelaide’s Karen Rolton Oval (February 24) and Melbourne’s Junction Oval (March 3).
Two inclusions have been made to the side which claimed a 3-0 series whitewash victory in Australia’s most recent ODI outing against Pakistan last October, but the hosts have suffered a blow with opener Nicole Bolton unavailable for the series as she takes a leave of absence from the game for personal reasons.
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham
Left-arm spinner Jonassen returns after missing that series in Malaysia due to injury, while left-arm speedster Cheatle is in line to make her first appearance in Australian colours since early 2017, having impressed through the back end of the domestic summer after recovering from a frustrating string of injury setbacks.
In her final three 50-over matches for NSW, Cheatle took seven wickets at 12.3 as the Breakers claimed a third consecutive WNCL title.
The pair replace allrounder Delissa Kimmince, fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck – who is still recovering from a knee injury sustained during the Rebel WBBL season – and opener Bolton.
“Selectors have opted to go with a squad very similar to the one that completed a clean sweep against Pakistan as well as winning the T20 World Cup late last year, with Nicole Bolton and Tayla Vlaeminck both unavailable for selection,” National Selector Shawn Flegler said.
“Nicole in unavailable, continuing her leave taken during the Big Bash, while the decision was made not to rush Tayla back from a knee injury that ruled her out of the back-end of the Big Bash and last round of domestic cricket.
“Lauren Cheatle really impressed on the Australia A tour to India in October, and it’s pleasing to see her back playing regular cricket after a string of injuries and we’re confident that her ability to swing the ball will be a challenge for New Zealand.”
Bolton’s absence could see either Beth Mooney or Rachael Haynes – both openers for their state teams – elevated to the top of the order, while opening the door for Elyse Villani to return to the playing XI.
In good news for Australia, batter Villani has been included in the squad after missing the end of the Big Bash and WNCL seasons due to a hamstring injury.
“All progressing as planned, Elyse will tick off the final aspects of her rehabilitation over the next week and we expect that she will be fully fit for the start of the NZ series," Australian Team Physiotherapist Kate Mahony said.
The trans-Tasman rivals will be playing for the Rose Bowl trophy, which has been in Australian hands since 2000.
ICC Women’s Championship points, which determine automatic qualification for the 2021 World Cup, will also be on offer. Australia currently sit atop the Championship table with 16 points, ahead of New Zealand on 14.
National selectors also revealed the Governor-General’s XI to play New Zealand in a day-night 50-over game at Drummoyne Oval on February 28.
The GG’s XI will be captained by retired Australia legend Alex Blackwell and features a host of exciting talent from the Rebel WBBL and WNCL, including Brisbane Heat allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson, Sydney Sixers batter Erin Burns and newly crowned Domestic Player of the Year Heather Graham.
Governor-General’s XI: Alex Blackwell (c), Erin Burns, Josie Dooley, Nicole Faltum (wk), Heather Graham, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Rachel Rae-Martin (Australian Defence Force), Annabel Sutherland, Rachel Trenaman, Belinda Vakarewa
CommBank ODIs v NZ
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham
New Zealand squad: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu
February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth
February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne