The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) today named the Australian women's team, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, to play England in the first Test of the Women Ashes Series beginning on 15 February at the Gabba in Brisbane.
The team is:
Team Management: Stephen Jenkin (coach), Claire Connolly (team manager), David Moore (assistant coach), Lisa Ross (physiotherapist), Sally Bailey (physical conditioning co-ordinator).
Four players - Blackwell, Britt, Sthalekar and Twining - could make their Test debut for Australia when the final XI is announced on the morning of the first Test (Saturday 15 February).
Sthalekar and Twining have been regulars in the Australian one-day international squad since making their national debut in the limited-overs game in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
Blackwell and Britt made their debuts for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars in the just-completed four-nations one-day international tournament in New Zealand, which Australia won after defeating the host nation by 109 runs in Saturday's final (8 February).
Blackwell, 19, played five matches in New Zealand, scoring 54 runs and taking four wickets. Her call-up to the national side came after a consistent season in the Women's National Cricket League, where she scored 212 runs at an average of 30.28.
Britt, also 19, played three matches in the four-nation one-day international tournament in New Zealand, capturing four wickets at an average of 6.25.
The South Australian all-rounder secured her place on the tour of New Zealand following an impressive performance at the Australian Under-19 Championship Series in Canberra last month. Britt was named Player of the Championship after topping the run-scoring list with 384 at an average of 76.80 and taking 15 wickets at 14.73.
New South Wales pace bowler Therese McGregor rejoins the team after being rested from the New Zealand one-day tournament with a minor back strain. Victorian medium-pace bowler Clea Smith and Queensland top-order batter Melissa Bulow have been omitted from the 13-player squad that travelled to New Zealand.
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.
Jennings said it was difficult to make changes to the Australian side that went undefeated in the four-nation one-day international tournament in New Zealand.
"It is always tough to change the combination of a winning team," said Jennings.
"The girls played exceptionally well in New Zealand but we had to reduce the travelling squad from 13 to 12 players. This is unfortunate for those who missed out, but there will be other opportunities for them down the track.
"Therese McGregor comes back into the side to give us more experience in the pace attack. She was expected to travel to New Zealand but we gave her time to rest and prepare for the Ashes series. She has recovered fully and is extremely eager to play.
"Alex Blackwell and Kris Britt did well on debut in the shortened form of the game and will have the chance this week to press for selection in the Test team," said Jennings.
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars play England in a two-Test series for the Ashes at Brisbane's Gabba (15-18 February) and Sydney's Bankstown Oval (22-25 February).
Australia retained the Ashes in 2001 with a 2-0 series victory in the United Kingdom, defeating England by an innings and 140 runs in the first Test at Shenley, and by nine wickets in the second Test at Leeds.
Australia and England have played 38 Test matches with the record standing at Australia (nine), England (six) and 23 draws.