Lauren Cheatle’s two-year wait to return to Australian colours is on the verge of being complete after she was called into the one-day squad for the three-match home series against New Zealand.
One of Australia’s finest young talents when she debuted aged 17 three years ago, the left-arm quick hasn’t played international cricket since March 2017 due to serious back and shoulder injuries.
The 20-year-old was included in Australia’s 13-player squad for the Rose Bowl defence, with selectors largely opting to keep the same group that won the women’s World Twenty20 last November.
Quick Tayla Vlamenik is out with a knee injury, opening bat Nicole Bolton remains on personal leave and T20 specialist Delissa Kimmince has been overlooked from the 15-player World Cup group.
“Lauren Cheatle really impressed on the Australia A tour to India in October, and it’s pleasing to see her back playing regular cricket after a string of injuries,” chief selector Shawn Flegler said.
“We’re confident that her ability to swing the ball will be a challenge for New Zealand.”
Cheatle took seven wickets in NSW’s last three games of the 50-over domestic league, all in must-win circumstances as the Breakers won their 20th title in the competition’s 23-year history.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Jess Jonassen has also been selected after she missed Australia’s previous one-day series with a knee injury, but young spinners Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham remain in the squad.
Middle-order bat Elyse Villani will be given time to recover from a hamstring injury before the February 22 series opener in Perth before games in Adelaide and Melbourne.
“All progressing as planned, Elyse will tick off the final aspects of her rehabilitation over the next week and we expect that she will be fully fit for the start of the NZ series,” team physio Kate Mahoney said.
Australia have held the Rose Bowl since 2000 and sit on top of the women’s ODI championship.
AUSTRALIA: Meg Lanning (capt), Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham.