The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) announced today the Australian women's squad, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, to play a series of one-day internationals against New Zealand in February and March 2002.
The squad is:
Belinda Clark (captain - Victoria - RHB)
Karen Rolton (vice-captain - South Australia - LHB, LM)
Sally Cooper (Queensland - LHB)
Cathryn Fitzpatrick (Victoria - RF, RHB)
Michelle Goszko (New South Wales - RHB)
Julie Hayes (New South Wales - RHB, RM)
Melanie Jones (Victoria - RHB, RM)
Lisa Keightley (New South Wales - RHB)
Therese McGregor (New South Wales - RM, RHB)
Julia Price (Queensland - RHB, WKT)
Lisa Sthalekar (New South Wales - OB, RHB)
Emma Twining (New South Wales - LM, RHB)
Team Management: Claire Connolly (team manager), Stephen Jenkin (coach), Christina Matthews (assistant coach), Lisa Ross (physiotherapist), Sally Bailey (physical conditioning co-ordinator) and Erica Sainsbury (scorer).
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars are scheduled to play six one-day internationals against the New Zealand women's team, the CLEAR White Ferns beginning in Adelaide on 20 February.
The series will be broken into a home-and-away fixture, with the first three matches played in Australia before both sides cross the Tasman for three more one-day internationals in New Zealand.
The matches played in Australia consist of two at the Adelaide Oval on 20 and 21 February (day/night) and the third at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on 23 February. In the New Zealand leg of the series, all three matches are being played at BIL Oval in Lincoln.
The six-game series will see Australia attempt to retain the Rose Bowl. Belinda Clark's team defeated the New Zealanders 3-0 in 1999-2000 to hold the coveted trophy.
Despite the 1999-2000 series victory over the New Zealanders, Australia's 12-player squad will be looking to avenge its loss to the Kiwis at the CricInfo Women's World Cup in December 2000.
On that occasion, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars fell fractionally short of claiming back-to-back World Cup wins when New Zealand defeated it by four runs in a thrilling final in Christchurch.
Since that time, the Australians, under the captaincy of prolific run-maker Belinda Clark have rebounded strongly with a convincing series victory over England and Ireland in the United Kingdom during July 2001.
Ten of the 12 players selected for this series were part of the United Kingdom tour.
Making her Australian debut is New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) Blues medium-pacer Emma Twining.
Fresh from playing a part in the Blues' sixth consecutive Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) title on the weekend, Twining said her inclusion in the team was the fulfilment of a life-long dream.
"I grew up with a genuine love for the game and as I progressed through junior representative teams, the dream of playing for Australia gradually became more vivid," Twining said.
"When I heard the news of my selection, I was absolutely thrilled. It's been a great few days. First the national title with the Blues and now this. I need to catch my breath."
Aggressive Victoria Spirit batter Melanie Jones has also been included in the squad for the first time since the 2000 World Cup.
The right-hander was well-placed in this year's WNCL run-scorers, having amassed 321 runs in eight matches at an average of 40.12.
Commenting on her inclusion, Jones said: "It has been hard to see the national team playing so well and not being a part of it. However, I knew that if I worked hard enough, things would eventually fall my way and the chance to represent my country would present itself again."
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad 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.
Upon selecting the squad Jennings said: "We believe we have selected a strong line-up to take-on New Zealand, a tough-side whom we have a lot of respect for.
"There is a good blend of youth and experience in the squad and this should position the side well in any encounter.
"It will be a very tough series, but given the good performances of our players in the national league and the terrific form they displayed in the United Kingdom, they are ready to take on the challenge," Jennings said.
The selection panel has the option of adding one more player to the squad at the conclusion of the Australian Youth team's series against New Zealand A from 10-16 February.
Player style key
RHB - right-hand bat, LHB - left-hand bat, WKT - wicket-keeper, LBG - right-arm leg break and googly bowler, SLC - slow left-arm wrist-spinner, SLA - slow left-arm orthodox spinner, RM - right-arm medium, RF - right-arm fast bowler, LM - left-arm medium, OB - right-arm off-spinner.