Australia have continued to make changes as they prepare for the 2009 World Cup, with four additions to the women's squad for the 2008-09 season. The fast bowlers Delissa Kimmince and Rene Farrell were promoted from the junior squad, while the wicketkeeper Leonie Coleman and the allrounder Lauren Ebsary were also included.
Omitted from last year's line-up were Sarah Aley, Charlotte Anneveld and Emma Inglis, none of whom managed to force their way into the Australia side during the season. The 20-player group also includes the team's star allrounder Ellyse Perry, 17, who was not in last year's original squad but was later elevated after making her international debut.
The selectors continued to look to the future with the promotion of Kimmince, 18, a Queensland bowler who played her first two one-day internationals against New Zealand in March. Farrell, 21, is from New South Wales and her maiden appearances came during last year's Rose Bowl in Darwin.
Ebsary, 25, was dropped from the squad last year but forced her way back in with a solid WNCL season for Western Australia, scoring 236 runs at 29.50 and collecting eight wickets. Coleman's recall following a four-year absence was not surprising after she replaced the injured wicketkeeper Jodie Purves for the matches against England and New Zealand in February and March.
Australia have had a mixed past 12 months, beating New Zealand 3-2 in Darwin last winter and repeating the same scoreline in New Zealand last month, but drawing 2-2 against England and losing the Ashes in the only Test played during the year. Their focus now turns to contests against India and New Zealand before next year's World Cup in New South Wales, where they will defend the title they won in South Africa in 2005.
"Last summer highlighted our need to continue to work on the team's consistency of performances and our batting," the chair of selectors Marg Jennings said. "Hopefully the Rose Bowl Series win against New Zealand will give us the confidence to play the style of game we'll need to win the World Cup."
The selectors also announced a new programme that will allow several of the players with AIS scholarships to spend four to 12 weeks at the Centre of Excellence in 2008. Karen Rolton, Kate Blackwell, Emma Sampson and Kris Britt were chosen as this year's participants.
Squad Sarah Andrews, Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Kris Britt, Melissa Bulow, Renee Chappell, Leonie Coleman (wk), Lauren Ebsary, Sarah Edwards, Rene Farrell, Delissa Kimmince, Shelley Nitschke, Ellyse Perry, Kirsten Pike, Leah Poulton, Jodie Purves, Karen Rolton (capt), Emma Sampson, Clea Smith, Lisa Sthalekar.