Australia announced an 18-member squad for their upcoming series against White Ferns late next month. All-rounder Ellyse Perry has been included in the squad whereas pace bowler Maitlan Brown has also been added. Australia will play three T20Is and as many ODIs.
Australia squad included 15 members from their T20 World Cup-winning squad, along with pace-bowling all-rounder Tahlia McGrath, Belinda Vakarewa and Brown as well. However, this is going to be the first time, the team will take the field since their T20 World Cup victory at the MCG on March 8.
In a recent statement, Cricket Australia said: “The schedule for the series has matches in both New South Wales and Queensland but given the current COVID situation changes may be required. Cricket Australia will continue to work with relevant authorities and advise any changes.”
Meanwhile, Ellyse Perry who got a hamstring injury during a group match against New Zealand in the marquee event underwent surgery as well. After the surgery, she has been recovering well in Melbourne having been granted an exemption from COVID-19 restrictions – which is the toughest in the country alongside the rest of the state’s other cricketers as well.
“Ellyse is progressing well from a significant hamstring injury and we want to give her every chance to be available for selection, so we’ll continue to monitor her progress over the coming weeks,” National Selector Shawn Flegler said.
The 18-member squad has been named due to the strict biosecurity arrangements amid the crunch situation of COVID-19. Alongside the batting unit, Australia’s pace attack has the pool of players like – McGrath, Vakarewa and Brown alongside the experienced Ellyse Perry.
McGrath, who earned her first Cricket Australia contract earlier this year after having a successful domestic session has been one of the best players in the ODI World Cup. Moreover, she has also returned to the squad for the first time since the 2017 Ashes.
On the other hand, Vakarewa had a great season for the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL 05. She has also been added in the list. So far, she has played one ODI for Australia in the 2017 World Cup. Meanwhile, Brown has been called up to the team for the first time – who has been a familiar face in the A-side for the past few years.
“The door has really opened for players like Maitlan, who joins the squad for the first time, and fellow fast-bowler Belinda who has previously represented Australia,” Flegler said. “Belinda only just missed out on T20 World Cup selection while Maitlan has impressed through her time in the National Performance Squad and Australia A.”
“Tahlia is in the mix to play her first match for Australia in a few years. She’s an extremely talented batter and up-and-coming leader so we look forward to seeing what she can do throughout this series,” Flegler further added.
Meanwhile, Molly Strano – who replaced injured Vlaeminck in the World Cup squad, has been named in the squad. She has been added as the all-rounder Erin Burns got a knee injury during the ICC tournament and did play for Australia.
“We’ll never hand out an Australian cap for the sake of it and we’ve always made that really clear, but we’ve also got to be smart,” Australia coach Matthew Mott said. “We’ll have to manage bowling loads for the pace attack, particularly in those ODIs.”
He again shared, “The players have come out of a winter program … to expect them to go full stride and play six games on the bounce is highly improbable so we need to be calculated and flexible as well.”
Notably, Australia have won 18 ODIs successively and they might equal the world record for consecutive ODI wins held by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting’s team of 2003.
Australia ODI & T20I Squad:
Meg Lanning (C), Rachael Haynes (VC), Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry *, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Belinda Vakarewa *subject to fitness