Veteran seamer Sarah Aley and promising fast bowler Belinda Vakarewa are among seven NSW Lendlease Breakers named in an extended 21-player Australian squad ahead of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England and Wales.
Also included were Lendlease Breakers captain and Southern Stars vice-captain Alex Blackwell, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner and Rachael Haynes, who continues her strong return to International cricket.
After initially joining the squad in Brisbane last Monday, fellow Lendlease Breaker Lauren Cheatle has returned home to consult a specialist next week for an ongoing shoulder injury.
Team medical staff have ruled Cheatle out of World Cup contention, with surgery likely to prepare the left arm swing bowler for the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Series in Australia during October.
The final 15-player World Cup squad will be selected following a three-week training camp at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane from 24 April to 12 May.
Defending champions Australia begin their World Cup campaign on 26 June against the West Indies at The Country Ground, Taunton, with the final at Lord’s on 23 July.
Australia won a record sixth World Cup in 2013 after defeating the West Indies by 114 runs in the final in India.
Aley, 32, has again been rewarded for an outstanding season.
Not since her first WNCL season, when she took 12 wickets in 11 games, has Alley been so productive for the Breakers, claiming 11 wickets in seven matches on the way to a remarkable 10th WNCL title.
But this was only the precursor to a spectacular tournament in the Women’s Big Bash League with the Sydney Sixers. Aley claimed 28 wickets in WBBL|02, seven more than any other bowler in the competition.
This gives her 47 wickets in the short but spectacular two-season history of the WBBL, eight more than anyone else.
And her crowning achievement was Player of the Match in this year’s final, with her 4-23 allowing the Sixers to defend a modest 124 as they went one better than WBBL|01 by claiming the title.
In her first season for the Lendlease Breakers Vakarewa, 19, played five matches, claiming four wickets and again turned out for the Sydney Thunder, playing 18 games in the first two years of the WBBL.
The squad is:
Sarah Aley NSW
Kristen Beams VIC
Alex Blackwell NSW
Nicole Bolton WA
Piepa Cleary WA
Holly Ferling QLD
Ashleigh Gardner NSW
Grace Harris QLD
Rachael Haynes NSW
Alyssa Healy NSW
Jess Jonassen QLD
Meg Lanning VIC
Tahlia McGrath SA
Beth Mooney QLD
Erin Osborne ACT
Ellyse Perry NSW
Megan Schutt SA
Molly Strano VIC
Belinda Vakarewa NSW
Elyse Villani WA
Amanda-Jade Wellington SA
Australia's World Cup schedule
June 26: Australia v West Indies, Taunton
June 29: Australia v Sri Lanka, Bristol
July 2: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol
July 5: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester
July 9: Australia v England, Bristol
July 12: Australia v India, Bristol
July 15: Australia v South Africa, Taunton
July 18: First semi-final, Bristol
July 20: Second semi-final, Derby
July 23: Final, Lord's