Leg-spinner Alana King is confident she’ll be able to thrive in the Test arena as well as in white-ball cricket after being included in Australia’s 15-player squad for the women’s Ashes series.
The hosts will be boosted by the return of experienced trio Rachael Haynes, Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen in the series against England, which features three Twenty20s, three ODIs and a Test.
King, who was part of Perth Scorchers’ title-winning WBBL side this season, could make her international debut as soon as the series-opening T20 on January 20 at Adelaide Oval.
The injury-enforced absence of tweakers Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux left selectors with a huge call to make.
The #Ashes It just means more.
Congratulations to the 15 players selected to resume our 87-year rivalry with England! pic.twitter.com/95QFphwR2n
— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) January 11, 2022
Adelaide Strikers leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, coming off a a league-best 22 wickets at 15.72 in her WBBL side’s campaign, loomed as the frontrunner to fill the void.
But Wellington, who played an Ashes Test in 2017, has instead been selected in a 15-player Australia A squad that will take on England A in six white-ball matches that overlap with the Ashes.
“This was a tough selection process with so many players coming off strong WBBL tournaments, but we’re confident we’ve selected a balanced, all-round squad with players who can perform across all three formats,” national selector Shawn Flegler said.
“Alana King … (has) a great opportunity to show what she can do at this level.
“Having improved in all facets of her game over the last few seasons, she’s well placed to play an important role in the series.
“While Georgia Redmayne, Stella Campbell, Maitlan Brown and Molly Strano have missed out from the India series due to a decrease in squad size, we know they’ll be able to lead the way with the A side and will be able to slot straight into the side if the opportunity arises.”
16 wickets and a 🏆 for the @ScorchersBBL.
— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) January 12, 2022
King has no experience in long-form cricket, but is backing her skills to adapt to the format if she is called up for the January 27 to 30 Test match in Canberra.
“I’ve got full confidence in my game,” King said on Wednesday.
“They believe and I believe that I can play in any format of the game. Whatever it is, I know I’ll be ready to go whenever I get the call up.
“Saturday afternoon I got a phone call from the head selector (telling me I was in the squad). It’s probably been the happiest day of my life.”
Australia is hopeful Molineux could be fit in time for the ODI World Cup in New Zealand, which immediately follows the Ashes.
Wareham will miss that tournament and the Commonwealth Games because of her knee injury.
Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (capt), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck.
Australia A squad
Georgia Redmayne (capt), Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Phoebe Litchfield, Katie Mack, Courtney Sippel, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Georgia Voll, Amanda-Jade Wellington.