Australia have named near-identical squads for the ODI and Test legs of the 2017-18 Ashes, with Lauren Cheatle and Tahlia McGrath recalled to the 50-overs team after missing out on World Cup selection. Cheatle and McGrath are among six uncapped players in the Test squad, the others being Belinda Vakarewa, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Beth Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner.
“I’m really excited about the final squad that has come together,” captain Rachael Haynes said on Tuesday. “I think it is really well-balanced and it’s going to be pretty hard to pick the final XI on the day… I think we’re coming into the Ashes series in some really good form.”
Haynes is not overawed by the task of leading Australia in the absence of superstar and regular captain Meg Lanning.
“I feel very confident in my ability to lead the team and it’s great that there are so many good senior players around the group as well, who can contribute in that environment,” Haynes said.
“The likes of Ellyse Perry and Alex Blackwell who will be vice-captain, Alyssa Healy, Elyse Villani who is captain for WA, I think there is a really great balance in the team and I will draw on that experience as well.”
Fresh from scores of 103* and 83 for New South Wales, Haynes is confident the Australians can step up to replace the Lanning-shaped hole in the batting order.
“Meg is obviously a world-class player, she is the best batter in the world, so she’d be a loss to any team she was part of… but I feel very confident that we have the depth in our team,” Haynes said. “It’s a great strength of Australian cricket and we’ll be really well-placed heading into the series.
“England have shown that they are really going to bring an aggressive brand of cricket and we’re very much prepared for that, but we have very different conditions over here and we’re looking forward to using that to our advantage.”
The 15-strong Test squad will be reduced to 13 players at the conclusion of next month’s three-day clash with an ACT XI. National selector Shawn Flegler believes the game in Canberra will provide vital pink-ball experience to the players.
“There is always a couple of positions up for grabs,” Flegler said. “We have to have a look at the conditions for the Test match in North Sydney. It’s a pink ball as well, a day-night Test match, the girls haven’t played that before, so it’s a good opportunity during that three-day practice match in Canberra to see how the girls perform with the pink ball and under lights.”
The Women’s Ashes is decided through a multi-format points system. Following the ODIs and day-night Test, Australia will announce another squad for the three T20Is which could decide who takes the trophy home.
The three ODIs will be played on October 22, 26 and 29. They will be followed by the day-night Test from November 9 to 12, and three T20Is on November 17, 19 and 21.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo