The National Selection Panel has named a 15-player Australian squad ahead of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England and Wales and four Sydney Sixers are included.
Southern Stars squad veterans Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy have been chosen, as well as recent debutante Ashleigh Gardner. Also selected for the tournament is WBBL|02’s leading wicket-taker, Sarah Aley, who is a chance to make her first ever appearance for the national team.
The Sixers’ Healy has already played 44 ODIs for the Southern Stars but is keen to add a World Cup Final at one of the game’s most historic grounds to her career achievements.
“To walk out at Lord’s in a World Cup Final would definitely be a dream of mine,” said Healy.
“If we can get that far it would be fantastic. But a lot of work ahead and obviously playing the ICC Women’s Championship we get to play against a few of the other top nations more often.
“Some of those teams have been a real surprise to us and no doubt they will be pushing hard in the World Cup as well.
“It’s definitely going to be the closest World Cup I’ve been a part of.”
Aley was selected in the Southern Stars squad in February for a series against New Zealand, but didn’t earn a cap on that occasion. However, National Selector Shawn Flegler said that Aley would add crucial elements to the Australian squad for this year’s World Cup.
"Sarah Aley will also add some extra depth to our bowling attack and brings an incredible amount of experience to the group which is invaluable in a tournament like this,” said Flegler.
“Ashleigh Gardner is another young player that has really impressed and alongside Kristen Beams, Jess Jonassen and Amanda-Jade Wellington, will form a strong spin attack that provides a range of options with the ball.
“This is going to be one of the most tightly contested World Cups in recent times and we have chosen 15 players that we believe are capable of leading Australia to victory.
The squad will finalise their preparations during a two-week camp beginning in Brisbane on Monday, with the second week to take place on the Sunshine Coast. Australia will begin their quest for a record seventh World Cup on 26 June against the West Indies at The County Ground, Taunton.
England, New Zealand, West Indies, India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will join Australia in the tournament with each side to face off against the other seven nations concluding with semi-finals at Bristol and Derby before the final at Lords on 23 July.
Australia are the defending champions having won a record sixth World Cup in 2013 after defeating the West Indies by 114 runs in the final in India.
The squad is as follows:
Australia's World Cup schedule:
June 26: Australia v West Indies, Taunton
June 29: Australia v Sri Lanka, Bristol
July 2: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol
July 5: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester
July 9: Australia v England, Bristol
July 12: Australia v India, Bristol
July 15: Australia v South Africa, Taunton
July 18: First semi-final, Bristol
July 20: Second semi-final, Derby
July 23: Final, Lord's