Western Australia have turned to youth to lead their Fury squad this summer, unveiling Chloe Piparo as captain for the upcoming Women’s National Cricket League season.
The 23-year-old top-order batter replaces Australian representative Elyse Villani, who announced earlier this year that she would return home to Victoria after three seasons in the west.
Despite her young age, Piparo boasts plenty of experience in the domestic 50-over competition, having already played five seasons for her state since debuting aged 17.
After the Fury reached their first WNCL final in 18 years last summer – falling at the final hurdle to a star-studded NSW team – Piparo is eager to continue that success in 2018-19.
"I’m really proud and privileged to lead this team,” Piparo said.
"To be considered leadership material is a real honour and something I won’t be taking for granted.
"This team is heading in the right direction on and off the field, and to be able to drive that further is really exciting."
Piparo will be supported by vice-captain Nicole Bolton, an Australian opener who has no shortage of leadership experience having previously skippered both the Fury and the Scorchers in the Rebel WBBL.
"Chloe’s a very talented young player and has been around the group for a long time,” Keightley said.
"Her skills and leadership credentials have developed really well and has definitely been a leader in and around the group for a number of years.
"Chloe was an obvious choice for me, she lives and breathes our culture and values.
"Being able to bounce off someone like Nicole is great for Chloe, they work really well together and Nicole will be able to help develop her leadership skills on and off the field.
"I thought last year was a breakthrough year for Chloe with her performances with the bat and I have no doubt she’ll continue that form leading into this season’s WNCL.
"She has great pride playing for WA and is popular around the group, and to be able to hand the captaincy to an impressive young woman shows Women’s cricket is in a healthy position in this state."
The first round of the WNCL will begin on September 21, when the Fury meet Victoria at Perth’s Murdoch University.
The opening weekend of matches will provide the Australian players in particular with valuable time in the middle ahead of their upcoming three-match Commonwealth Bank T20I series against New Zealand, beginning at North Sydney Oval on September 29.
WA Fury squad 2018-19: Megan Banting, Nicole Bolton (CA contracted), Melissa Cameron, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Sheldyn Cooper, Bhavisha Devchand, Amy Edgar, Heather Graham, Kath Hempenstall, Ashlee King, Emma King, Tanaele Peschel, Chloe Piparo, Emily Smith
CommBank T20 INTLs v NZ
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra