Cricket Australia today announced that the women's national selection panel has chosen a 13-player squad to take on New Zealand in the first leg of the six-match Rose Bowl series beginning in Auckland on 11 February.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad is:
Team management: Stephen Jenkin (coach), Claire Connolly (team manager), Barry Nievandt (assistant coach), Lisa Ross (physiotherapist), Sally Bailey (physical conditioning coordinator).
In a series of changes, New South Wales pair Leonie Coleman and Shannon Cunneen have been drafted into the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars team for the first time.
Cunneen comes into the Australian team from outside the original 2003-04 Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad named in April 2003. The 26-year-old has scored 230 runs in the Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) at an average of 32.85, finishing in the competition's top 10 run-scorers.
Wicket-keeper Coleman, 24, has previously represented Australia at youth level and has enjoyed a consistent year for the New South Wales Breakers, with six dismissals behind the stumps.
A further change to the Australian line-up sees New South Wales stalwart Lisa Keightley step out of retirement to make a return to the national team.
Keightley, who announced her retirement from the international level in December 2002, played 54 one-day internationals for Australia. She did not play in Australia's recent Ashes Tests or its limited-overs series against New Zealand, India and England last year, but has played for state team New South Wales this season.
Wicket-keeper Julia Price and top-order batters Melissa Bulow and Michelle Goszko have been omitted from the squad which contested the Ashes and one-day international series in 2003.
Chairperson of selectors Margaret Jennings said the changes to the squad were about keeping the team balanced and flexible.
"Shannon Cunneen has had an exceptional year in the WNCL, playing as an attacking batter and that's something we encourage and are looking for in terms of developing the right squad for next year's World Cup," said Jennings.
"Certainly the three players who have been left out of the team are still in the minds of selectors, but we have to take into account current form among other factors in choosing the best side for the series.
"Julia Price is obviously a very experienced player to lose from the side and was a little unlucky to miss out. She started the year slowly and has come through the season with some strong form.
"But by the same token, we want to give Leonie Coleman a chance and see how she performs in New Zealand. Leonie has had a consistent year and done everything asked of her, so she deserves this opportunity.
"The side will gain the experience of Lisa Keightley who makes her return. Lisa has had a great season and put herself back into contention for the national team and we feel she will fit in well and add some stability to the middle order."
Cunneen said she was thrilled with the news of her selection. "This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I really want to make the most of it," said Cunneen.
"Even though I wasn't named in the original Australian squad, I still set the goal for myself to work hard because you just never know what can happen, and it shows that selection is open for anyone who is playing well enough."
Coleman said her experience at youth level would assist in making the step into the international arena. "I'm rapt that the selectors have shown faith in bringing me into the squad," said Coleman.
"The chance to represent Australia at the highest level has been my dream and after gaining a taste of international competition with the youth side, I'm looking forward to this next challenge of playing with the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars."
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.
Australia plays New Zealand in six one-day international matches in the annual clash for the Rose Bowl trophy.
The six-match limited-over series includes three matches in New Zealand (11, 15 and 17 February) and three matches in Australia at Sydney's Bankstown Oval (21 February), Victoria's Albert Ground (25 February) and Hobart's Bellerive Oval (27 February).
The Australian squad will be reselected at the end of the New Zealand leg of the tour, and announced on 18 February.
Meanwhile, a 13-player Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars squad has also been named to play New Zealand A in four limited-over matches at Lincoln, New Zealand, beginning on 8 February.
The Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars squad is:
Team management: Ken Davis (coach), Rina Hore (team manager), Chris Teale (physiotherapist).
The Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars will contest four limited-over matches against New Zealand A in New Zealand from 8 February. The schedule is