The NSW Breakers have included captain Alyssa Healy, vice-captain Rachael Haynes and off-spinning allrounder Ash Gardner in a 13-player squad for Thursday’s match against the Queensland Fire at Hurstville Oval.
However veteran seamer Sarah Aley and late blooming allrounder Erin Burns have been ruled out through injury.
Aley has a calf niggle while Burns will have arthroscopic surgery on her left knee and also miss next Tuesday’s rescheduled match against the ACT Meteors at Hurstville Oval.
Lauren Cheatle was already out with a shoulder injury while Saskia Horley and Jodie Hicks make way for the internationals from the squad chosen in September for the opening two Women’s National Cricket League matches.
Burns was due to play her first game for the Breakers after previously representing Tasmania and the Meteors then debuting for Australia in the West Indies during September.
The squad also includes potential debutants Stella Campbell, 17, and Maddy Darke, 18. Campbell, a seam bowler, and Darke, a batter, played for the Sydney Sixers in their first season of Women’s Big Bash.
International players were unavailable for the early rounds.
Breakers coach Dom Thornley said: “We look forward to testing our skills against a very well respected Queensland team, a team which has played some very good cricket in the past 12 months.
“As with all NSW players we aim to prepare them to potentially represent their country and allowing Erin the opportunity to have a small operation to remove some bone in her knee gives her the best opportunity to present herself for national honours.
“We have prepared really well over the past week, given the change in schedule, and acknowledge there are currently bigger issues in our world than playing cricket.
“We will be playing these next few games representing our fellow people of NSW whom we know have been through some incredibly difficult times. It’s our way to show support and strength for our State.”
Alyssa Healy (c)
Rachael Haynes (vc)