Cheatle, Stalenberg in line for Australia debuts
Lauren Cheatle and Naomi Stalenberg, who have both impressed with the Sydney Thunder in the Women's Big Bash League, are in line to debut for Australia after being named in the squad to take on India in six matches over the next month.
Australia's selectors have named a squad of 15 for the matches, beginning with three T20s in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, followed by three ODIs in Canberra and Hobart. The three T20s will be broadcast by the Nine Network and have been scheduled as double-headers to correspond with the T20s being played by the Australia and India men.
Cheatle, 17, a left-arm fast bowler, and Stalenberg, 21, a middle-order batsman, have been named in the T20 squad only, after their strong WBBL performances. Cheatle is equal second on the WBBL wicket tally with 17 victims at 15.76 and an economy rate of 6.38, while Stalenberg has proven herself one of the tournament's quickest scorers, with 160 runs at a strike-rate of 150.94.
"The T20 squad has been selected with an eye to the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup in March and includes two new faces," Shawn Flegler, the Women's National Selection Panel chairman, said. "We have chosen the Sydney Thunder's Lauren Cheatle and Naomi Stalenberg, after some very impressive recent performances in the WBBL and WNCL.
"Cheatle is a 17-year-old left-arm quick who can swing the ball into right-handers and has shown great composure in her second and third spells during the WNCL. Naomi Stalenberg has been a real standout with her aggressive middle-order batting, displaying great power and a healthy strike rate."
Stalenberg and Cheatle will be replaced for the ODI portion of the series by legspinner Kristen Beams and top-order batsman Nicole Bolton. Beams is recovering from a dislocated thumb and her fitness will be monitored closer to the start of the one-day internationals.
Australia squad Meg Lanning (capt), Alex Blackwell (vice-capt), Kristen Beams (ODI only), Nicole Bolton (ODI only), Lauren Cheatle (T20 only), Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg (T20 only).