Australia call up 16-year-old NSW schoolgirl
Australia have named the New South Wales schoolgirl Ellyse Perry in a 13-member squad to play New Zealand in the Top End Series in July.
At just 16, Perry is set to become the youngest Australian cricketer - ahead of Julie Stockon, who was 17 years and 104 days old - to make her ODI debut, and is rated highly by those in the know. She is considered a genuine all-round prospect and toured New Zealand with the Australian under-23 team earlier this year.
"Ellyse is an extremely athletic and talented prospect and her selection fulfils the needs of the team as the fourth pace-bowling option after Cathryn Fitzpatrick's retirement and Kirsten Pike's unavailability for this series," Margaret Jennings, the former Australia captain and chair of selectors, said.
South Australia's Kris Britt returns to the squad for the first time since 2004 after a good season with the Scorpions in last year's Women's National Cricket League. "Kris Britt's return to the national team is a fitting reward after a strong season in the national league," Jennings said.
She said the selection panel had plenty to monitor after the retirement of Fitzpatrick, the world's highest wicket-taker in one-day internationals. "We were happy with the team's performances to win a four-nation tournament in India earlier this year, but with Cathryn's retirement it will be interesting to see how the rest of the group reacts without a player of her calibre," Jennings said.
The Top End Series will contain a Twenty20 international and a five-match one-day international Rose Bowl Series between the Southern Stars and the New Zealand White Ferns from 19-29 July.
Squad Sarah Andrews, Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Kris Britt, Melissa Bulow, Sarah Edwards, Shelley Nitschke, Ellyse Perry, Jodie Purves (wk), Karen Rolton (capt), Emma Sampson, Clea Smith, Lisa Sthalekar.