Rising star Phoebe Litchfield will embark on her first Ashes tour after being included in Australia’s 15-player squad for the multi-format series in the United Kingdom this June and July.
Litchfield, the 19-year-old batting prodigy who hit back-to-back half-centuries in her first two ODIs against Pakistan in January, is the only addition to the Australian group that won a third consecutive T20 World Cup in South Africa last month.
She replaces allrounder Heather Graham, who has instead been named in the Australia A squad who will tour alongside the Ashes group.
The long-awaited return of Tayla Vlaeminck from injury headlines that 13-player ‘A’ squad, who will meet England A in three one-dayers and three T20s.
Australia’s Ashes squad: Meg Lanning (c), Alyssa Healy (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
Australia A Squad: Maitlan Brown, Lauren Cheatle, Maddy Darke, Heather Graham, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Charli Knott, Kate Peterson, Courtney Sippel, Tayla Vlaeminck, Courtney Webb, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Tahlia Wilson
Australia will be vying to retain the Ashes trophy they have held since 2015 and selectors have named one squad to cover all three formats in the points-based series, with the rivals to meet in one Test, three T20s and three ODIs from June 22.
That cohort includes three potential Test debutants, with Litchfield a chance to earn her Baggy Green alongside former Ireland allrounder Kim Garth and Grace Harris.
The concurrent nature of the Ashes and ‘A’ tours is an added bonus for Australia, who could call upon ‘A’ players at any point during the tour if form or fitness require.
Likewise, with the ‘A’ series to begin with three T20s from June 21, members of the Ashes squad not named in the XI for the one-off five-day Test at Trent Bridge from June 22 could link up with Australia A to adjust to the local conditions.
The stability of the senior Australian squad reflects the team’s dominance in recent years, having lost just two games in any format since March 2021.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a consistent side across all formats over the past couple of years and as a result we have selected a similar group to the squad which won the T20 World Cup in February,” CA head of performance and national selector Shawn Flegler said.
“Phoebe Litchfield has taken her game to the next level in the past 12 months, we view her as a long-term player for Australia and it’s pleasing to reward her progress with selection in an Ashes squad.”
Meanwhile some of the most exciting young talent in the country has been included in the Australia A squad where the oldest player is Graham at 26.
Fast bowler Vlaeminck is set to play her first official matches since suffering a serious foot injury during the last Ashes in January 2022, while fellow quick Maitlan Brown will make a return after missing the back half of the 2022-23 summer with a back injury.
While young, the group nonetheless boasts international experience in the likes of Graham, Vlaeminck, left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle and leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington.
The group includes three wicketkeepers, with Maddy Darke joined by Nicole Faltum and Tahlia Wilson, while middle-order batter Courtney Webb has been included after a dominant Women’s National Cricket League season for South Australia.
Two notable absentees from the touring squads are CA-contracted allrounder Nicola Carey, who lost her spot in the Aussie squad ahead of the T20 World Cup, and Queensland wicketkeeper Georgia Redmayne, who remains unavailable as she recovers from an Achilles tear suffered at the end of WBBL|08 in November.
“Tayla Vlaeminck is progressing in her rehabilitation and is working back towards full bowling fitness; she is a highly regarded talent and is certainly part of our plans moving forward,” Flegler continued.
“The Australia A squad contains experienced performers in domestic cricket, along with several emerging players who we believe have exciting futures ahead of them.
“It’s hugely beneficial to have an Australia A component to the tour and provide an opportunity for our developing players to test themselves in conditions they may not experience in Australia.
“The nature of concurrent tours also offers flexibility and allows players to be available for and cross over into both squads, whether it be from a preparation perspective or to provide an opportunity at international level.”
The Australian squads will depart for the United Kingdom in the second week of June, while players – who are currently enjoying a well-earned break on their annual player leave period – will be involved in a series of preparation camps throughout May.
CommBank Ashes Tour of the UK 2023
Test: June 22-26 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 11am local (7pm AEST)
First T20I: July 1 at Edgbaston, Birmingham, 6.35pm (3.35am July 2 AEST)
Second T20I: July 5 at The Oval, London, 6.35pm (3.35am July 6 AEST)
Third T20I: July 8 at Lord’s, London, 6.35pm (3.35am July 9 AEST)
First ODI: July 12 at The County Ground, Bristol, 1pm (10pm AEST)
Second ODI: July 16 at The Rose Bowl, Southampton, 11am (7pm AEST)
Third ODI: July 18 at The County Ground, Taunton, 1pm (10pm AEST)
Australia A v England A 2023
First T20: June 21, Loughborough
Second T20: June 23, Loughborough
Third T20: June 25, Loughborough
First one-dayer: June 28, TBC
Second one-dayer: June 30, TBC
Third one-dayer: July 2, TBC
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