CommBank ODI Series v NZ
Australia consider options at top
Rachael Haynes and Beth Mooney the leading candidates to join Alyssa Healy at the top of the order
13 February 2019, 04:20 PM AEST
Australia captain Meg Lanning is backing either deputy Rachael Haynes or Beth Mooney to fill the vacant spot at the top of the order for the upcoming Commonwealth Bank Women's ODI series against New Zealand.
Regular opener Nicole Bolton is unavailable for the three-match series, meaning recently crowned Belinda Clark Award-winner Alyssa Healy will have a new opening partner at the WACA Ground on February 22.
Both Haynes and Mooney open for their respective states in 50-over cricket, and both have also performed the role previously for Australia.
Mooney most recently opened alongside Bolton during the 2017 World Cup but has more recently found herself in the middle order alongside Haynes, who opened during her first stint in the Australian ODI team prior to 2013.
"We've got a few options, Beth Mooney has done it before Rach has done it before as well so they're probably the two we'll look at," Lanning said in Melbourne on Wednesday.
"It's going to be a difficult decision to see who we go with, both are very capable of partnering Healy up top and have had a great season so far so we'll look at it over the next week or so and decide who matches up best."
Lanning praised the courage of Western Australian Bolton, who is taking an indefinite break from the game due to personal reasons.
"She's got a lot of support around her both in cricket and outside as well," Lanning said.
"It was a very brave decision to take a step away we've been supporting her all the way through.
"From all reports she's going well, which is great to hear."
One slice of good news for the Australians surrounded Elyse Villani, who missed the final match of the Rebel WBBL season and the last round of WNCL due to a hamstring injury.
The batter still needs to tick several boxes before being passed fit for the opening ODI at the WACA Ground on February 22 but Lanning said the Victorian was tracking well.
If fit, Villani could play her first ODI since the 2017 Ashes.
"She's been working hard in rehab and has been making sure she's ready to go," Lanning said.
"By all reports she's flying along so we expect her to be ready to go for the first game."
Missing from the Australia ODI squad is quick Tayla Vlaeminck, who suffered a partial ACL tear while playing for the Renegades in the Big Bash.
With an Ashes series in the United Kingdom looming in July in conditions that could perfectly suit the right-armer, Australian selectors have opted to take the cautious route with the 20-year-old.
"Tay is very talented and has a big future," Lanning said. "Unfortunately she's injured at the moment but we've got to look a little more long-term.
"We feel like she's got a long career ahead of her so at this stage we're taking it a little bit slower to make sure we've got good base for her and allow her to get strength into her body to be able to get through international series and the domestic summer too.
"There's plenty of time for Tayla, we think she's got a very bright future."
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