Australia has unveiled its squad for next month’s T20 World Cup in South Africa, with Georgia Wareham returning to the national set-up for the first time in 15 months in a surprise.
On Tuesday morning, the Victorian leg-spinner was named in a 15-player Australian outfit alongside captain Meg Lanning, who also returns following a six-month hiatus from the sport.
Wareham ruptured her ACL in October 2021, keeping her on the sidelines for over a year, but the 23-year-old made her long-awaited return in the WNCL last week, taking two wickets against the New South Wales Breakers.
Lanning stepped away from cricket following last year’s Commonwealth Games triumph in Birmingham, missing the Women’s Big Bash League and Australia’s recent T20 tour of India.
Kim Garth and Heather Graham, who made their debut in India, both retained their place, while batting prodigy Phoebe Litchfield, South Australian leg-spinner and Tasmanian all-rounder Nicola Carey each missed out on selection.
Wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy and spin bowler Jess Jonassen were also named despite sustaining injuries during the India tour.
“It’s always tough to narrow a squad down to just 15 players, but we’re confident we’ve picked a well-balanced side that’s well placed for the series against Pakistan and ready to challenge for a third consecutive T20 title,” national selector Shawn Flegler said in a statement.
“Seeing Meg and Georgia back in action for Victoria has been exciting. Both bring a wealth of experience to the group, which is always crucial during major tournaments.
“Georgia in particular, has had a tough run of injuries, but she’s shown a great deal of resilience and her return is a real boost for the side.
“Alyssa and Jess are expected to be fully fit and firing after minor injuries as well, so we’ve got a full-strength squad with plenty of variety with both bat and ball if required.
“Heather and Kim both impressed when given the chance during the India series, and we know they are ready to perform their role if the opportunity presents.
“Unfortunately, there was no room for Nicola, Phoebe or Amanda-Jade, but they’re still well and truly in our plans and are on standby should they be required.”
Australia will play a three-match T20 series against Pakistan, which gets underway on January 24, before travelling to South Africa in February. The five-time world champions will face New Zealand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Africa in the group stage.
“Although the side may look slightly different at the moment, I think we’re in really good shape, and we’ve had some different players step up and contribute every time,” Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath told foxsports.com.au last month.
“We push on to South Africa and then hopefully defend that World Cup.”
Australia’s T20 World Cup squad: Meg Lanning (c), Alyssa Healy (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham