Maitlan Brown included in 18-member AUS squad to face NZ; Ellyse Perry included to play fitness-permitting

Women's CricZone Staff
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Australia celebrating their fifth T20 World Cup title © ICC

“We’ve selected a slightly larger squad than usual because of a number of COVID-related considerations and, with no matches leading in, players have been picked on performances both for Australia and Australia A over the last 12-to-24 months,” said Shawn Flegler, national selector.

Ellyse Perry, who had suffered a hamstring injury in Australia’s clash against New Zealand, had been included in the squad subject to fitness.

“Ellyse is progressing well from a significant hamstring injury and we want to give her every chance to be available for selection, so we’ll continue to monitor her progress over the coming weeks,” said Flegler.

“The door has really opened for players like Maitlan, who joins the squad for the first time, and fellow fast-bowler Belinda who has previously represented Australia.”

With Tayla Vlaeminck, Annabel Sutherland and Delissa Kimmince’s presence apart from Megan Schutt, Vakarewa missed the bus to the tournament, which the hosts won for the fifth time earlier this year. However, on the back of consistent performances for the National Performance Squad and Australia A, she has forced her way back into the national team.

“Belinda only just missed out on T20 World Cup selection while Maitlan has impressed through her time in the National Performance Squad and Australia A.”

“It’s great to have Erin and Sophie back fit and firing as well. Those two will add extra depth to our spin attack and middle-order, as will Molly who’s a proven performer in the green and gold,” said the selector, speaking of the spin attack, that also includes leg-spinner Georgia Wareham.

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McGrath, who earned her first national contract, is in line to play her first match for Australia since 2017.

“Tahlia is in the mix to play her first match for Australia in a few years. She’s an extremely talented batter and up-and-coming leader so we look forward to seeing what she can do throughout this series,” said Flegler.

“While there’s a host of experienced players in the squad, we’ve kept a strong view on the future and it’s really exciting to see so many younger players putting their hands up for National selection.”

“In recent times we’ve seen the younger players like Georgia, Annabel, Sophie and Ashleigh step up and win games for Australia which is exactly what we want to see.”

The two sides will compete for the Rose Bowl Trophy in a three-ODI series and will also play a same number of T20Is, with the games scheduled to be played in New South Wales and Queensland. However, the venues could be changed subject to the situation of COVID-19 in those regions.

“New Zealand always present a great challenge and this series will be no different. While nothing is guaranteed in the current climate it’s pleasing to be able to prepare for a series like this and thanks must go to all the people working behind the scenes to make it possible,” concluded Flegler.

Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry (subject to fitness), Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Belinda Vakarewa