Melbourne, Nov 14: Fast bowler Lauren Cheatle has earned her first international call-up in more than four years as Australia on Tuesday named a 16-player women’s squad for their multi-format tour of India.
Australia plays one Test, three One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals against India in a multi-format series across two venues in Mumbai over the Christmas and New Year period.
Heather Graham has also earned a recall in the 16-player touring party after missing the series against the West Indies last month.
Grace Harris retains her place in the T20 squad despite not being selected in the three matches against the West Indies last month.
Cheatle, who made her international debut in 2016 as a 17-year-old, returns to an Australian squad for the first time since March 2019.
After several injury-plagued seasons, which included four shoulder reconstructions in five years, Cheatle has led the Sydney Sixers bowling unit with 19 wickets through ten Women’s Big Bash League matches this season.
The left-arm quick’s WBBL form follows a successful tour of England with Australia A in June, where she took 11 wickets across five matches.
Following the one-off Test from December 21-24, the two sides will play three ODIs at Wankhede Stadium from December 28 to January 2 and three T20Is from January 5 to 9 at DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai.
CA’s Head of Performance (Women’s Cricket) and National Selector, Shawn Flegler said: "A multi-format series against India in India is exciting and presents a huge challenge for our group. Most of our players, through last December’s bilateral series or the WPL, have played cricket in Mumbai over the past 12 months and have experienced the conditions.
"We’ll have an opportunity to acclimatise to the conditions and our preparation in Mumbai will include a warm-up match against a local opposition."
She added: "Lauren Cheatle has overcome significant injury setbacks and thoroughly deserves her place in the squad through her performances over the past six months. Lauren has playing experience in India and provides another fast-bowling option, particularly in regard to the Test match which is the format she has been selected for.
“At this stage, we’re planning for Lauren to return to Australia ahead of the white ball formats to play WNCL. Darcie Brown missed the last two ODIs against the West Indies with a hamstring injury but is back bowling and is on track to be available for Test selection."
But selectors have held off naming a new full-time captain to replace Meg Lanning. National Selector Flegler said they had commenced the process of finding Australia's next full-time skipper, which is expected to be confirmed closer to the tour"
Alyssa Healy has stood in for Lanning at various times over the past 18 months, but Australia's keeper is no certainty to return from injury in time for the Test match at Mumbai's iconic Wankhede Stadium that will open the multi-format series on December 21.
“Alyssa Healy’s finger is healing but remains in a splint and our medical team are continuing to monitor her recovery closely. We’re obviously very hopeful she will be available for the Test, but those decisions are still a while away."
Australian squad: Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (T20s only), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham. (IANS)