The excellent recent form of New South Wales Breakers left-arm pace bowler Lauren Cheatle has earned her a recall to the Australian Women’s squad selected for the upcoming Commonwealth Bank One-Day International series against New Zealand.
The 20-year-old last played for Australia, as a teenager, against New Zealand in a One-Day International at Mount Maunganui during early March 2017. She is one of six Breakers selected in the squad for the three-match series starting on February 22 in Perth.
Cheatle joins Breakers captain, and 2019 Belinda Clark Award winner, Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, allrounders Ashleigh Gardner, Nicola Carey and departing Breaker Ellyse Perry in the squad.
Haynes is vice-captain of the squad captained by Victorian Meg Lanning.
Cheatle showed some excellent form in recent weeks to help the Breakers claim their 20th Women’s National Cricket League title in 23 seasons.
She returned seven wickets in the last three WNCL matches for the Breakers at an average of 12.3, including career best figures of 4-42 from 10 overs against ACT.
Cheatle said when she got the news it was a complete surprise.
“I think I called my mum first and she was in tears and whenever my Mum cries I cry,” said Cheatle.
“(I’m) over the moon and completely wrapped for the opportunity.”
WATCH: Lauren Cheatle on her Australian selection.
Cheatle debuted for her country at just 17 in a T20 International against India at the MCG in January 2016.
Her selection for the New Zealand series completes a journey of persistence, since Cheatle last played for Australia nearly two years ago, involving the recovery from back and shoulder injuries as well as illness.
Cheatle said she had her broad support network to thank for the part they played in the journey back to the Australian squad.
“Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia, and my family and my team mates in particular, they made it quite an easy journey for me.
“(There were) a few little hurdles along the way but all through them now and really looking forward to this next chapter.”
Cheatle said she was now bowling without the thought of injury at the back of her mind.
“(It was there) at the start of the season, I was definitely thinking about it every time I got to the bowling crease, but I think having a summer where I didn’t have an injury has really put confidence in my body.”
National Selector Shawn Flegler said it was pleasing to see Cheatle back playing regular cricket.
“(She) really impressed on the Australia A tour to India in October … and we’re confident that her ability to swing the ball will be a challenge for New Zealand,” said Flegler.
Cheatle said while the upcoming series against New Zealand was her priority, the Women’s Ashes series in England during July was also a motivation.
However, she wasn’t getting too far ahead of herself.
“I know a few of our players are injured at the moment and will probably come back in, but I’m going to put my best foot forward in these couple of games if I have the opportunity and see what happens.”
Australia and New Zealand will play for the Rose Bowl in the three-match series from 22 February to 3 March.
New Zealand has not taken the trophy from Australia since 2000.
Australian Women’s squad v. New Zealand in Commonwealth Bank ODI series
Meg Lanning (c) (Victoria)
Rachael Haynes (vc) (New South Wales)
Nicola Carey (New South Wales)
Lauren Cheatle (New South Wales)
Ashleigh Gardner (New South Wales)
Alyssa Healy (wk) (New South Wales)
Jess Jonassen (Queensland)
Sophie Molineux (Victoria)
Beth Mooney (Queensland)
Ellyse Perry (New South Wales)
Megan Schutt (South Australia)
Elyse Villani (Victoria) *subject to fitness
Georgia Wareham (Victoria)
Commonwealth Bank One-Day International Series v New Zealand – Fixtures
22 February: Australia v New Zealand, WACA, Perth
24 February: Australia v New Zealand, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
3 March: Australia v New Zealand, Junction Oval, Melbourne