Kate Blackwell dropped for World Cup

Kate Blackwell, the Australian middle-order batsman, has been dropped from the squad for next month's Rose Bowl Series in New Zealand and the World Cup in March. Blackwell was part of the 30 probables announced earlier but could not find a place in the final 15-member squad which includes seven of her New South Wales team-mates.

She scored 39 runs in five matches against India and had an ordinary domestic season, averaging 35 from eight games, with one half-century. Marg Jennings, the chairperson of the selection panel, said Blackwell, along with Sarah Edwards, was unlucky to miss out. "Kate Blackwell and Sarah Edwards have been regular members of the Australian team in previous seasons and while it's obviously disappointing for both to miss selection for such an important tournament, the WNSP [selection panel] feels it has chosen well-balanced squad for the defence of the World Cup."

Erin Osborne, the New South Wales offspinner who is leading the National Cricket League's wicket-takers list, earned her first call-up to the national side.

The squad also includes Jessica Cameron, the only Australia Under-21 player from among five in the probables to make the final cut. Cameron impressed with half-centuries against the senior team and the touring Indians last October. Rene Farrell, who played two ODIs in 2007 and was part of the squad announced for the 2008-09 season, finds a place as well. Jodie Fields and Leonie Coleman are the two wicketkeepers in the squad.

Melissa Bulow, Kris Britt and Clea Smith, who were named among the probables despite not having played for Australia for over a year, were overlooked. Kirsten Pike missed out on selection after a foot injury cut short her domestic season.

Australia women squad: Karen Rolton (capt), Lisa Sthalekar, Emma Sampson, Alex Blackwell, Jodie Fields, Leonie Coleman, Shelley Nitschke, Lauren Ebsary, Leah Poulton, Ellyse Perry, Delissa Kimmince, Jessica Cameron, Rene Farrell, Erin Osborne, Sarah Andrews.