Ashleigh Gardner along with seven of Australia’s most promising female cricketers have been included in Cricket Australia’s inaugural 2017 Women’s National Performance Squad (NPS).
The squad will spend two weeks at the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Brisbane under the watchful eye of former Australian representative Leah Poulton who was appointed Cricket Australia High Performance Coach earlier this year.
The addition of a women’s National Performance Squad is yet another step in the professionalisation of the women’s game and enables Australia’s most talented young cricketers to compete and learn from their peers in the world class facilities at the NCC.
The NPS program acknowledges the important step between state and international cricket, and is aimed at giving young athletes the skills they need to perform in a variety of conditions and environments.
2017 Women’s National Performance Squad
Maitlan Brown, ACT
Piepa Cleary, WA
Ash Gardner, SA
Heather Graham, WA
Tahlia McGrath, SA
Sophie Molineux, VIC
Rachel Trenaman, NSW
Belinda Vakarewa, NSW
South Australian’s Ashleigh Gardner and Tahlia McGrath and New South Wales’ fast-bowler Belinda Vakarewa have already made their international debuts and will benefit from the additional tutelage.
The program will provide an even mix of training and competition with a strong leadership component, which acknowledges the important role the squad will play in Australian cricket over the years to come.
The squad will also have the opportunity to train alongside and play a series of practice matches against the Australian Women’s team as they prepare for the upcoming Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Series.
Cricket Australia High Performance Coach Leah Poulton said: “It’s really exciting to be able to facilitate the women’s NPS for the first time with a group of players who have been touted as future Australian players.
“Whilst several players have already taken the step into international cricket, the program is an important step in the elite player pathway and will allow them to further develop themselves as athletes on and off the field at the world-class facilities of the NCC.
“This program is designed to complement the work being done with the players in their respective states and allow them to experience international playing and training environments as well as being exposed to a variety of conditions.”