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'It will be ridiculously hard': Returning stars leave Mott with welcome headache

NZ v Aus, T20I series

Australia Women's coach Matthew Mott is facing a problem of plenty going into this month’s T20I series against the White Ferns.

On top of the ICC Women’s T20I rankings, Australia beat New Zealand 2-1 in their most recent series in the format in September. That was a series win that came without the services of Ellyse Perry (hamstring) and Tayla Vlaeminck (foot). Both will be available for next Sunday’s opening T20I in Hamilton. Though it is a welcome one, their return provides a serious headache for Mott.

If both Perry and Vlaeminck are to play, at least one of Australia’s incumbents in the XI will be squeezed out. From the XI that last played a T20I for Australia, Delissa Kimmince is the lone player not on this tour.

“It will be ridiculously hard, I think," Mott said of picking the XI. "There's going to be one or two very disappointed players who deserve to be in that team but that's the by-product of having success and having players who have been out of the team coming back in.

"There's a lot of competition for those spots and to be honest we're not exactly settled on that XI, we'll see how everyone pulls up."

Vlaeminck was cruelly ruled out of last year’s T20 World Cup on tournament eve after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot. She has not played for Australia since and only returned to competitive action in the country’s Women’s National Cricket League in February.

Perry’s last match for Australia was during the T20 World Cup, where she suffered a tournament-ending hamstring injury in the final group game. She has played plenty of domestic cricket since then but missed Australia’s series against New Zealand last summer after re-injuring her right hamstring.

“There are people at different stages. In Tayla's case, we won't be looking to play her in every game over here,” Mott said.

"She's aware of that so we'll have to manage her through her return to play.

"Ellyse has come off some really good cricket and is a world-class player so she'll have to get in there somewhere then it's about managing a couple of really unlucky players who will miss out.”

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