WBBL stars dominate Australia’s squad for first-ever U19 Women’s T20 World Cup

Cricket Australia (CA) on Tuesday named the Australian squad for the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa to be held in January next year, composed of many youngsters who have been stars in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).

The Youth Selection Panel selected a 15-player squad following the conclusion of the 2022/23 Under-19 Female National Championships in Perth on Monday. Australia’s squad, which contains eight players with domestic experience, will be led by head coach Sarah Aley and her assistants, Erin Osborne and Dulip Samaraweera.

Australia’s squad includes off-spin all-rounder Ella Hayward, who has become a regular fixture with Melbourne Renegades and Victoria, along with leg-spin all-rounder Amy Smith, who is a consistent presence in Hobart Hurricanes and Tasmania.

Fast bowler Rhys McKenna is contracted to Melbourne Stars and Victoria, alongside left-arm pacer Lucy Hamilton, who debuted for Brisbane Heat in eighth season of the WBBL and is from Queensland state. Wicketkeeper Paris Bowdler also had WBBL experience through the Renegades.

CA also said players aged 18 or younger on August 31, 2022, were eligible for selection at the tournament, ruling out 19-year-old current Australia senior cricketers Darcie Brown and Phoebe Litchfield, as well as WBBL young stars Georgia Voll, Tess Flintoff and Charli Knott.

“It has been exciting to see the talent on display at this year’s Under 19 Female National Championships. The Under-19 World Cup provides players with an exceptional development opportunity, and we look forward to watching our team on the world stage.”

“Our squad has several players who have experienced professional cricket environments, but final selection for the World Cup was based on overall performances across a variety of competitions. Inevitably, there were difficult selection decisions, but we will continue to support and monitor the development of all players in our pathway systems,” said Shawn Flegler, Cricket Australia’s Head of Women’s Performance.

Australia will play group matches in Group A of the tournament against Bangladesh, the USA and Sri Lanka at the World Cup which gets underway on January 14 and will be played across Potchefstroom and Benoni, with the final on January 29.

Australia Under-19 World Cup squad: Chloe Ainsworth, Jade Allen, Charis Bekker, Paris Bowdler, Maggie Clark, Sianna Ginger, Lucy Hamilton, Ella Hayward, Milly Illingworth, Eleanor Larosa, Rhys McKenna, Claire Moore, Kate Pelle, Amy Smith, and Ella Wilson

Non-travelling reserve players: Paris Hall, Samira Dimeglio, Sara Kennedy, Olivia Henry, and Ananaya Sharma

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