Melbourne, April 5 (IANS) Grace Harris, Kim Garth, Heather Graham and Phoebe Litchfield were on Wednesday added to Cricket Australia’s list of women’s players to be offered national contracts for 2023-24 including 13 players retained from last season.
The quartet became the beneficiaries of the additional national deals made available under cricket’s new Memorandum of Understanding.
The total number of women’s contracts available has risen from 15 to 18 under Cricket Australia’s new Memorandum of Understanding with the players, with Carey declining one of the 18 spots.
Harris has been offered a contract after earning an upgrade during the 2022 Commonwealth Games and being a regular in the white-ball teams since then. The all-rounder played all six matches including the final for the dominant Australia outfit at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year.
Garth and Graham were also members of the triumphant Australia squad at the tournament.
Meanwhile, rising star Litchfield has secured a playing contract after making an immediate impact with unbeaten half-centuries in her first two ODIs earlier this year against Pakistan. The 19-year-old sensation was recently named in Australia’s squad for the upcoming Women’s Ashes Tour of the UK and looms as a possible long-term replacement for former vice-captain Haynes.
The contracts are primarily based on player performances during the past 12 months and who the National Selection Panel believe will represent Australian teams over the year ahead.
Players not awarded contracts as part of the initial squad of 17 can earn upgrades throughout the year by accruing 12 upgrade points. Female players receive five points for a Test, and two points for an ODI or T20I.
“It’s been an incredibly successful 12 months for the Australian women’s team, but our attention now turns to the challenges ahead, particularly the upcoming Ashes Series in England,” Shawn Flegler, Cricket Australia’s head of performance (women’s cricket) and national selector, said.
“Grace Harris earned an upgrade last season and subsequently played every match throughout the T20 World Cup, she is a multi-skilled cricketer who can influence matches with both bat and ball. Kim Garth and Heather Graham have performed strongly at domestic level over the past 12 months, and both thoroughly deserve their spot on the list.
Phoebe Litchfield is a young talent who we believe has a big future, she’s built her game upon a very sound technique and we’re confident she can transfer those skills into international cricket.
We’ve had a core group of players performing well over the last 12 months which means some talented players have missed out, it’s certainly made selection tough but we’re in a fortunate position to have such depth across Australian Cricket,” he added.