Melissa Bulow, Clea Smith and Kris Britt have returned to national reckoning after being named in the 30-member preliminary World Cup squad for Australia. The squad also includes six players from the Australia Under-21 side - Elyse Villani, Alyssa Healy, Corinne Hall, Jessica Cameron, Jo-Ann Verrall, Jessica Jonassen - who lost a close Twenty20 game against the senior team in October last year.
Bulow and Smith last played for Australia in the Rose Bowl series against New Zealand in 2007, while Britt was dropped after a poor ODI series against England in February last year. Renee Chappell was called up to the national squad for the 2008 Rose Bowl series but did not get a single game.
Eighteen-year old Healy, who is a wicketkeeper like her uncle, the former Test player Ian, said the news of being named in the squad came as a shock. Healy said her uncle had been a willing mentor in her career so far and was always happy to help her out with tips on the game. "Watching him keep for Australia definitely inspired me to do better things when I was younger. Knowing how much work he put in to get to where he wanted definitely helped me learn a few things about how I can better myself as a cricketer," Healy was quoted as saying in the ICC website.
She expected the top four teams - Australia, England, New Zealand and India - to be extremely competitive in the tournament. "However competition could come from any of the other seven sides so it will be a tough tournament for the Australian girls."
Australia preliminary women's World Cup squad: Karen Rolton (capt), Lisa Sthalekar, Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Melissa Bulow, Kris Britt, Sarah Andrews, Jessica Cameron, Renee Chappell, Leonie Coleman, Lauren Ebsary, Sarah Edwards, Rene Farrell, Jodie Fields, Corinne Hall, Rachel Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jessica Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Shelley Nitschke, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Kirsten Pike, Leah Poulton,, Emma Sampson, Clea Smith, , Selena Tainton, Jo-Ann Verrall, Elyse Villani, Julie Woerner.