Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck were the new faces as Australia named their squad for the Twenty20 International series against New Zealand at home.
The major setback for Australia was the news that Jess Jonassen, the experienced left-arm spinner, wasn’t going to be available for selection following a knee injury.
With Jonassen going out, two uncapped 19-year-old Victorians, Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck, have been drafted in to complete the squad of 13 for the three-match series that starts later this month at North Sydney Oval.
Also missing from the squad that played India and England in a T20I tri-series in India in March were Amanda-Jade Wellington, the leg-spinner, and Naomi Stalenberg, the batter.
Wareham is a leg-spinner, and Vlaemnick a medium pacer, and both have been a part of the Australian National Performance Squad. Vlaemnick’s emergence is particularly impressive, as the young speedster has already undergone two knee reconstructions and a dislocated shoulder.
“It’s pleasing to see young players such as Georgia and Tayla putting their hand up for selection. Whilst they haven’t played a lot of domestic cricket, Georgia has represented the Melbourne Renegades in the WBBL [Women’s Big Bash League] and both players have come through the player pathway, having taken part in the inaugural overseas under 19 tour and been a part of the National Performance Squad this winter,” pointed out Shawn Flegler, the national selector.
“We’re really fortunate with the depth we have in particular in the leg-spin department, and we feel that Georgia provides the full package that is required for T20 cricket, she’s an outstanding fielder and her bowling has really progressed over the last 12 months.
“Tayla is a little bit different to anyone else around the country, she’s been unlucky with injury over the last few years, but she’s come back and has performed at the right time. Tayla has the attributes to be that key strike bowler who can take early wickets, she’s young and competitive.”
The series will act as preparation for the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 in the Caribbean in November, and Matthew Mott, the coach, admitted, “There’s not a lot of room for change, we’re reasonably confident with what we need. This team hasn’t been thrown together, it’s been evolving over time so the selection is pretty strong on the make-up of that team already.”
Mott added that while the first XI wasn’t so much a concern, with Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and a host of other regular stars shoo-ins for selection, the composition of the rest of the squad has kept the management busy.
“We agonised a lot over the make-up of the team. In T20s, I think we’ve got a pretty good formula, and to be honest, the first XI pretty much pick themselves,” he said. “The make-up of the rest of the squad was up for grabs, and we’ve had a great week and a half (of training). We’ve injected a little bit of youth into the squad, but they’ve earned their spots.”
Lanning, the star batter and captain, said the games against a strong New Zealand unit should prepare the Southern Stars well for the marquee event.
“Yeah, I guess this is nailing down the style of play that we want to get out there and show all the time. In that Indian series in March we did that really well, and now it’s about injecting those young players into our squad and just making sure we’re really clear on that aggressive nature that we want to play, especially heading into the T20 World Cup,” she said.
“We’ve had a really good break over the last couple of months, from touring we’ve been at home and spent some time there. It’s been really important for our group to freshen up knowing that we’ve got such a busy time coming up.
“I think it was really important for our group to get away from cricket for a little bit (at the camp in Gold Coast) and learn a little bit more about each other. Really happy with the way the 10 days panned out.”
Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham