Cricket Australia has this morning announced its 15-player women’s squad heading to the United Kingdom in July, for the T20 International Tri-Series in Northern Ireland and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The side remains unchanged after its ICC World Cup victory last month, as Amanda-Jade Wellington and Grace Harris retain their places in the squad, which features five spinners and five seam bowlers.
Superstar all-rounder Ellyse Perry is expected to play purely as a batter on the trip at this stage, as she recovers from a stress fracture in her lower back.
Perry missed two matches at the World Cup with soreness, before making a return for the final against England in the same capacity.
Fans will be excited to see Alyssa Healy back in action, after the explosive batter was named as both player of the final and the tournament for her 170 runs in the decider and 509 total runs for the tournament.
Alongside Rachael Haynes, Australia’s opening pair were the top two run scorers at the 50-over World Cup, amassing more than 1,000 runs between them. But the switch to the shorter format will now see Beth Mooney re-join Healy at the top of the order.
The trip will also mark a changing of the guard for the Australian coaching staff, with former all-rounder Shelley Nitchske taking over as the interim head coach after Matthew Mott’s departure to coach England’s men’s limited-overs teams.
Women’s T20 cricket is due to make its debut at the Games on July 29 and the top-ranked Australian team is set to face India, Barbados and Pakistan in Group A.
The top two countries in each group will then progress to the semi-finals, playing for a spot in the bronze and gold medal matches held on August 7.
As the current holders of both the one-day and T20 World Cup, with recent multi-format series victories against India (October 2021) and England (February 2022), Australia will be the favourites to challenge for gold.
The side will also get a sneak preview of what to expect from Pakistan in the weeks leading up to the Games when they face the seventh-ranked side alongside Ireland in a T20 tri-series in Northern Ireland.
Each team will play each other twice in the series spanning from July 16-23 at the Bready Cricket Club in Derry.
Australia’s head of performance and national selector Shawn Flegler said the tri-series should help the team adjust to the northern hemisphere conditions.
“This series is an important part of the team’s preparation for the Games, and we are grateful for the support from Commonwealth Games Australia that has allowed this to happen,” Flegler said.
“The two series also present Shelley Nitschke with a great opportunity to lead the side. We’re in a fortunate position to have some world-class coaches in our system, with both Shelley and assistant coach Ben Sawyer contributing to the team’s success over the last few years.”
The team’s physiotherapist, Kate Beerworth, said injured bowlers Tayla Vlaeminck and Georgia Wareham were progressing well in their rehab, but neither would feature at the Games.
Vlaeminck has been working with The Australian Ballet to try and speed up her return to play.
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