Matthew Motts, coach of Australia's women's team, has said that as many as three spots are waiting to be filled in the squad for next year's ICC Women's T20 World Cup at home.
Australia, currently ranked No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20I team rankings, have been the most successful side over the course of last two years, losing only three T20I matches in that period. It's no surprise that they have already developed a strong unit of core personnel, but the team management is equally keen on developing robust bench strength.
While the recently concluded Women's Big Bash League was a way of identifying in-form talent, the focus will now shift to Australia A's limited-overs series against India A next week, which offers the opportunity for fringe players to force their way into the squad.
"We’ve said from day one, the WBBL is very important for T20 selection and pretty much all of those players have performed at some point through this tournament," Mott said. "There’s usually around three spots [available]."
Australia A play three one-dayers against India A, followed by three T20s, which will be particularly crucial in the light of the upcoming World Cup. The spotlight will be on players who set the stage alight in the recently-concluded Women's Big Bash League. Belinda Vakarewa, Sammy-Jo Johnson and Maitlan Brown present themselves as excellent pace bowling options; while Erin Burns, Heather Graham and Tahlia McGrath are three talented all-rounders with a chance to put their names into contention for senior team selection. Spinners Molly Strano and Amanda-Jade Wellington, who enjoyed great success during the WBBL season, will also look to make a mark.
Although Mott believes that the top 12 pick themselves, they are on the lookout for good impact players on the bench to add depth to the squad, saying that all the players who have done well and feature in the A squad "are in the frame for selection for the World Cup."
We’ve said from day one, the WBBL is very important for T20 selection.
"Generally in a T20 World Cup, if you find the right formula in the first couple of games – even though we’re playing on some different wickets and different opponents – you’re not going to change your team outside of that top 12 or 13 a whole lot," he said.
"So it’s most important we get that 12 right, that we get our structure right, and the other three [players] can potentially come in if something goes wrong." The T20 World Cup begins on 21 February with defending champions Australia playing India in the tournament opener.
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!