Kirsten Pike and Sarah Edwards have replaced the experienced duo of Melanie Jones and Louise Broadfoot in Australia's World Cup-winning squad for the Women's Ashes series in August. The axing of Jones, who has played five Tests and 61 ODIs, was the biggest surprise in the 14-woman outfit.
Margaret Jennings, the chair of selectors, said it was necessary to consider "succession planning" with changes expected over the next 18 months. "That means injecting some new, untried players, and allowing them to learn from our experienced core group so that the changing in guard is smooth," she said. "We had to make some tough decisions."
Jennings said Jones's form had been mixed in the past two tours and they were seeking a player with more consistency. "The door is not closed for Melanie or Louise in terms of re-selection," she said. Broadfoot, the legspinner who made her international debut in 2000, was considered surplus to the slow bowling requirements in England.
Pike is a 20-year-old medium-pacer from Queensland while Edwards opens the batting for Victoria. "They have been given an opportunity to impress and we are keen to see what they are capable of at the next level," Jennings said.
The squad leaves for the two-Test series in July to defend the Ashes, a trophy they have not lost since 1963. Australia, who hold a 29-6 limited-overs advantage, will also play a one-day tournament against England and a Twenty20 match. Three games against Ireland are also scheduled.
Australia squad Belinda Clark (Vic, capt), Karen Rolton (SA, vc), Alex Blackwell (NSW), Kate Blackwell (NSW), Sarah Edwards (Vic), Cathryn Fitzpatrick (Vic), Julie Hayes (NSW), Lisa Keightley (NSW), Emma Liddell (NSW), Shelley Nitschke (SA), Kirsten Pike (Qld), Julia Price (Qld), Clea Smith (Vic), Lisa Sthalekar (NSW).