The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) today announced the Australian women's team, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, to tour New Zealand for the quadrangular one-day international series beginning on 26 January.
The team is:
Team Management: Stephen Jenkin (coach), Claire Connolly (team manager), Mark Sorell (assistant coach), Lisa Ross (physiotherapist) and Sally Bailey (physical conditioning co-ordinator).
New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) Blues pace bowler Therese McGregor has been rested for the one-day series with a back strain. McGregor is expected to make a return to the national side for the Ashes Test series beginning in February.
Included in the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars team for the first time are NSWIS Blues all-rounder Alex Blackwell, Southern Scorpions all-rounder Kris Britt and Queensland Fire opening batter Melissa Bulow.
Bulow's solid form in the Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) earned her a call-up to the Australian side. She is the likely replacement for the batting void left by the retirement of Lisa Keightley.
Bulow, 22, has led the run-scoring charts for Queensland Fire in the past two seasons, scoring 222 at an average of 27.75 this season.
Bulow said hard work and commitment had put her in good stead to push for senior selection.
"This is an unbelievable opportunity for me, I'm still trying to get a hold of what it all means," said Bulow.
"Unfortunately Queensland missed out on making the WNCL finals on the weekend, which was one of my aims, but this news has certainly lifted my spirits.
"I've worked hard for a long time and made sure that I applied myself toward achieving my dream of representing Australia, and now that chance is becoming more a reality," she said.
Britt and Blackwell, both 19, are targeted youth squad members and part of the long-term plan to manage the generation change in the Australian team.
Britt was named Player of the Championship at the Australian Under-19 Championship Series - Female last week in Canberra, where she led the run-scoring list with 384 at an average of 76.80 and chipped in with 15 wickets at 14.73.
In the WNCL, Britt scored 231 runs at an average of 38.50 and took nine wickets at 21.66.
Blackwell has been a key member of the NSWIS Blues line-up this season, helping them to their seventh consecutive WNCL final after defeating Western Fury over the weekend.
Blackwell scored 181 runs at an average of 36.20 as the Blues' second highest run-scorer behind Michelle Goszko (232 runs).
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars team was chosen by the three-person national selection panel consisting of former Australian players Margaret Jennings (Chairperson) and Wendy Weir, and former Australian coach Peter Bakker.
Five of the 13 players selected for the one-day series played at the 2000 CricInfo Women's World Cup.
Jennings said the selected side offered a mix of experience and developing players, which was important in building a side capable of taking-on the best in the world.
"One of our objectives was to re-balance the batting line-up after Lisa Keightley announced her retirement from international competition," said Jennings.
"After strong performances over the past few seasons we feel Melissa (Bulow) deserves the chance to step in and establish herself at the next level.
"There is a great deal of experience in the side already, so this is the opportunity to bring in some fresh talent to play against some sides who will test our capabilities," said Jennings.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars will contest the four-nation limited-overs tournament in New Zealand against the host nation, England and India, before travelling home for two Ashes Tests against England in Brisbane (15-18 February) and Sydney (21-25 February).
The quadrangular one-day series is the first time all four sides have come together in the same competition since the 2000 CricInfo Women's World Cup in New Zealand.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars are scheduled to play six one-day matches in New Zealand, with the competition final on 8 February at Bert Sutcliffe Oval. Australia's campaign begins on 26 January when they take on New Zealand at the same venue.
The side will contest a warm-up match against New Zealand A at Ashburton on 24 January.
Australia has contested 145 one-day international matches, with a record of 115 wins, 26 losses, one tie and three no-results.
Australia's head-to-head battle against the competing nations in the one-day series is:
TeamPlayedWonLossTieNo resultNew Zealand62421901England3527611India1211100
The one-day international fixture January 24 Australia v New Zealand A Lincoln Green, New Zealand January 26 Australia v New Zealand Bert Sutcliffe Oval, New Zealand January 27 England v India Bert Sutcliffe Oval, New Zealand January 28 New Zealand v India Bert Sutcliffe Oval, New Zealand January 29 Australia v England Lincoln Green, New Zealand January 30 New Zealand v England Lincoln Green, New Zealand February 1 Australia v India Lincoln Green, New Zealand February 2 New Zealand v India Bert Sutcliffe Oval, New Zealand Australia v England Lincoln Green, New Zealand February 3 New Zealand v England Lincoln Oval 3, New Zealand February 4 Australia v India Lincoln Oval 3, New Zealand February 6 Australia v New Zealand Bert Sutcliffe Oval, New Zealand England v India Lincoln Oval 3, New Zealand February 7 Third v Fourth play off Bert Sutcliffe Oval, New Zealand February 8 ODI Final Bert Sutcliffe Oval, New Zealand
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars depart for New Zealand on Thursday 23 January.