Stella Campbell called up to Australia Ashes side in place of Tayla Vlaeminck; Lauren Bell in England Test squad

Stella Campbell (L) and Lauren Bell (R) © Getty Images

Australia have added Stella Campbell to the Ashes squad ahead of the one-off Test match starting on January 27. The 19-year-old Campbell comes into the squad, replacing the injured Tayla Vlaeminck, Cricket Australia announced on Tuesday (January 25). For the visitors, England have called up uncapped pacer Lauren Bell to the squad for the Test.

The right-arm fast bowler made her debut in the longest format against India during the pink-ball Test. She bagged two wickets in her debut Test match, including that of Deepti Sharma, who scored a half-century for India. Even though the Test match ended with a draw, Campbell made an impression with her pace.

Speaking about Campbell’s inclusion in the squad, National Selector Shawn Flegler said, “Stella bowled well for us in the Test match against India and provides another fast bowling option now with Tayla being injured. We will continue to assess conditions over the next couple of days before finalising the team.”

While representing her domestic side in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL), Cambell took a seven-wicket haul playing at the Manuka Oval earlier this month. Her Australian and NSW Breakers teammate Ashleigh Gardner was all praise of the young quick.

“It’s going to be pretty interesting what wicket we have for the first day… think there might be a little bit in it for the bowlers if that 50-over game is anything to go by,” Gardner said.

“When we played ACT down here for New South Wales, Stella was almost unplayable and to have her back into the Test squad is really exciting. The confidence she can take out of that match going into this match it’s really exciting. Hopefully, if she does play she can replicate that.”

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21-year-old Bell is yet to make her international debut but has been part of England Academy and A set ups in recent times. She has been impressive during the England A’s ongoing series against Australia A. She picked up three for 17 in the first T20 at the Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide on January 20. Bell was part of the Southern Vipers side that won the Rachael Heyhoe Fint Trophy, England’s domestic one day competition, in 2020. She also featured in The Hundred with the Southern Brave side when they  reached the final of the tournament.

Head coach Lisa Keightley was all praise about the lanky pacer and said Bell continued her good form from the England summer into the Australia tour, giving them an extra option going into the Test match.

“Lauren bowled really well throughout the English summer and she’s continued the good form over here on Australian wickets. She gives us another option to consider for selection going into the Test match,” Keightley said.

Current Ashes holders Australia, lead the multi-format Ashes series 4-2, following a win in the first T20I and two consecutive washouts in Adelaide. If Australia manages to win the Test match, they will earn eight points and retain the Ashes. England, on the other hand, need 10 points to regain the Ashes after seven years.