Defending champion's 21-member squad features four first-timers
Australia Women named four uncapped bowlers in a preliminary 21-member squad on Thursday (April 27) for the Women’s World Cup in England and Wales.
The pace trio of Sarah Aley, Piepa Cleary and Belinda Vakarewa along with Molly Strano, the offspinner -- all of whom could be in line to make their One-Day International debuts later this year -- received nods, but the squad will be trimmed to 15 next month after a three-week camp in Brisbane concluding on May 12.
"There’s some great depth in the squad with the more experienced players complemented by a number of new faces who have shown they can hold their own at this level," said Shawn Flegler, the national selector. "The ICC Women’s Championship showed us how tough this year’s tournament is going to be and the players know they’re going to have to be at the top of their game to win the title."
Lauren Cheatle, the left-arm seamer, was initially in the squad but returned to Sydney because of an ongoing shoulder injury. Cheatle has been ruled out of World Cup contention and she will likely undergo surgery to ensure she can be fit for the Women’s Ashes in October.
The defending champion, aiming for a seventh title, will start its World Cup campaign against West Indies -- the team it beat by 114 runs in the 2013 final in India -- in Taunton on June 26.
England, New Zealand, West Indies, India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will join Australia in the tournament, with each side to face off against the other seven nations, which concludes with semifinals in Bristol and Derby before the final at Lord’s on July 23.
Squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Piepa Cleary, Holly Ferling, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.