Melbourne, March 29 (IANS) Teenage batter Phoebe Litchfield has been rewarded for her recent white-ball form by winning a place in Australia’s 15-player squad for their Ashes tour of England.
Australia will play one Test match, three T20Is and three ODIs in the multi-format women’s Ashes series, to be held in England from June 22. The Meg Lanning-led have held the women’s Ashes since 2015 and won by 12-4 margin in 2021/22 at home.
Litchfield, the 19-year-old batting prodigy, who caught attention by hitting back-to-back half-centuries in her first two ODIs against Pakistan in January, is the only addition to the Australian squad who secured a record-extending sixth T20 World Cup title in South Africa in February.
“Following the success of the side at the recent T20 World Cup, the focus now turns to the exciting challenge of retaining the Ashes away from home. We’ve been fortunate to have a consistent side across all formats over the past couple of years and as a result we have selected a similar group to the squad which won the T20 World Cup in February.
Phoebe Litchfield has taken her game to the next level in the past 12 months, we view her as a long-term player for Australia and it’s pleasing to reward her progress with selection in an Ashes squad,” said Shawn Flegler, CA’s Head of Performance (Women’s Cricket) and National Selector on Wednesday.
Litchfield replaces allrounder Heather Graham, who has instead been named in the Australia A squad, which includes a mix of senior and developing young players. Australia A will play three T20s and three 50-over fixtures which run concurrently to the women’s Ashes.
In addition, Australia and England will each play a three-day warm-up match against England A and Australia A respectively, in preparation for the Test match which begins on June 22 at Trent Bridge.
Courtney Webb, the 2022-23 WNCL Player of the Year, has been selected alongside tearaway pacer Tayla Vlaeminck, who is continuing her rehabilitation from a significant foot injury suffered in early 2022.
“The Australia A squad contains experienced performers in domestic cricket, along with several emerging players who we believe have exciting futures ahead of them. It’s hugely beneficial to have an Australia A component to the tour and provide an opportunity for our developing players to test themselves in conditions they may not experience in Australia,” said Flegler.
“The nature of concurrent tours also offers flexibility and allows players to be available for and cross over into both squads, whether it be from a preparation perspective or to provide an opportunity at international level.
Tayla Vlaeminck is progressing in her rehabilitation and is working back towards full bowling fitness; she is a highly regarded talent and is certainly part of our plans moving forward,” she added.
Australia squad for Women’s Ashes: Meg Lanning (captain), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland and Georgia Wareham
Australia A squad: Maitlan Brown, Lauren Cheatle, Maddy Darke, Heather Graham, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Charli Knott, Kate Peterson, Courtney Sippel, Tayla Vlaeminck, Courtney Webb, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Tahlia Wilson