Breakers off-spinning allrounder Ashleigh Gardner is among three New South Wales players named in the 14-player Australian squad to contest the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes during July.
Gardner joins Breakers captain, wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes in the squad to take on England in the United Kingdom.
Haynes captained Australia when it retained the Ashes in Australia, late 2017, in the absence of Meg Lanning, who was injured. All three Breakers were part of that squad.
Newly contracted Breakers off-spinning allrounder Erin Burns and Rachel Trenaman, 18, have been chosen in the 13-player Australia A squad to also tour the UK in late June and throughout July.
Australia and England will contest three One-Day Internationals, a four-day Test match and three T20 Internationals during the Ashes. The first match is a One-Day International on 2 July.
The Ashes will be awarded to the team that accumulates the most points across the multi-format series. Teams are awarded two points for each One-Day and T20 International win, while a Test victory is worth four points.
The Australian squad will assemble in Brisbane on June 13 for a pre-series camp including two warm-up matches against the Women’s National Performance Squad on 17 and 19 June, before departing for England on 21 June.
Healy, Gardner, Haynes and Trenaman were all part of the successful Breakers team that claimed their 20th Women’s National Cricket League title in 23 seasons during 2018/19.
Burns joins the Breakers for the 2019/20 season from the ACT Meteors.
Gardner, 22, has been selected for her first Ashes tour of England, but it will be her third to the UK in the last three years.
She was part of the 2017 Australian Women’s World Cup squad and led the first ever female Indigenous team to tour the UK, in June last year, that commemorated the 150th anniversary of the 1868 Pioneers.
The Pioneers were a group of 13 male Aboriginal cricketers that became the first sporting team from Australia to tour internationally.
“This will be my second Ashes campaign (and) I know how much this tour means to not only me but all the other players and their families,” said Gardner.
“I have been there twice now, and I think it’s so different to what we have in Australia, the conditions are obviously very different. I know the grounds are a lot different as well, they’re a lot smaller.”
Given women cricketers play much less Test cricket than male players, the upcoming Ashes series presents another precious opportunity to play the longer format.
Healy and Haynes have played three and four Test matches respectively, while Gardner is yet to debut, despite playing 44 internationals in the shorter formats.
WATCH: Ashleigh Gardner speaks about Ashes selection.
Gardner was really disappointed to miss selection in the day-night Test match during the last Women’s Ashes series in late 2017, at North Sydney Oval, but believes in hindsight she probably was not ready.
“It’s been two years now since that and I know that I have grown not only as a cricketer but as a person,” Gardner said.
“Just knowing that I have more time than what I actually do … for Test cricket (it’s) for four days, I do have a lot more balls to face if I do go out there, hopefully if I do get the opportunity that’s what I’ll be doing.
“Hopefully I receive my first ever Baggy Green.”
Speaking about the Australia A squad, National Selector Shawn Flegler said it was a terrific opportunity for the players chosen to test themselves in notoriously tricky conditions.
“(This) group represents the next generation of Australian players, so to be able to invest and give them this experience is incredibly valuable,” said Flegler.
The Australia A squad will be coached by Breakers great Leah Poulton.
Commonwealth Bank Ashes Tour of England
Nicole Bolton, WA
Nicola Carey, TAS
Ashleigh Gardner, NSW
Rachael Haynes, NSW
Alyssa Healy, NSW
Jess Jonassen, QLD
Delissa Kimmince, QLD
Meg Lanning, VIC
Beth Mooney, QLD
Ellyse Perry, VIC
Megan Schutt, SA
Elyse Villani, VIC
Georgia Wareham, VIC
Tayla Vlaeminck, VIC
Australia A Squad
Maitlan Brown, ACT
Erin Burns, NSW
Josie Dooley, QLD
Heather Graham, WA
Sammy-Jo Johnson, QLD
Tahlia McGrath, SA
Sophie Molineux, VIC
Georgia Redmayne, QLD
Molly Strano, VIC
Annabel Sutherland, VIC
Rachel Trenaman, NSW
Belinda Vakarewa, TAS
Amanda-Jade Wellington, SA
Women’s Ashes Fixtures
26 June – England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
28 June – England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
11-13 July – England Women’s Academy v Australia, Marlborough College, Swindon
2 July – 1st ODI, England v Australia, Grace Road, Leicester
4 July – 2nd ODI, England v Australia, Grace Road, Leicester
7 July – 3rd ODI, England v Australia, St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury
18-21 July – England v Australia, The County Ground, Taunton
26 July – 1st T20I, England v Australia, County Ground, Chelmsford
28 July – 2nd T20I, England v Australia, The County Ground, Hove
31 July – 3rd T20I, England v Australia, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
Australia A Fixtures
29 June, England v Australia A, Loughborough
3 July, England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
5 July, England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
8 July, England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
Three-day tour match
12-14 July, England v Australia A, Millfield School, Street
17 July, England Women’s Academy v Australia, Millfield School, Street
19 July, England Women’s Academy v Australia, Millfield School, Street