The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) today announced the Australian women's squad, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, for the 2002-03 international season.
The AIS Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad is:
Targeted youth squad players
Twenty-six-year-old Queensland strike bowler Cindy Kross has been included in the squad, gaining national selection for the first time.
Kross' strong performances in the 2001-02 Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) has seen her rewarded with a place in the Australian squad.
Kross, who finished the WNCL season in the top five wicket-taker's list, was outstanding for the Queensland Fire. She claimed 11 wickets at an average of 14.09, including best figures of 5-28 against Victoria Spirit.
Commenting on Kross' inclusion, Australian Chairperson of Selectors Margaret Jennings said: "Cindy had an outstanding season in the national league. She is an exciting player and will benefit enormously from joining the AIS squad," she said.
New South Wales Institute of Sport Blues' (NSWIS) batter Martha Winch has been included in the squad for the first time since 1999-2000.
The left-hander scored 245 runs for the Blues at an average of 35.00, including an unbeaten 65 against the Southern Scorpions.
Her strong performances during the domestic season placed her in the top 10 runscorers behind AIS Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad members Karen Rolton, Belinda Clark, Lisa Sthalekar, Lisa Keightley, Melanie Jones, Michelle Goszko and Melissa Bulow.
After making her state debut in 1997-98, Winch was a member of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars team that hosted England and New Zealand in seven one-day international matches in 1999-2000.
As Australia prepares for the 2005 Women's World Cup, the ACB and the AIS have developed an initiative that will see five members from Australia's youth squad, the Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars, participate in the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars program.
Youth squad members Alex Blackwell, Kris Britt, Bronwyn Dawes, Lauren Ebsary and Belinda Matheson will join the AIS squad this year.
The concept is designed to make the players' transition from the under-23 level to the international arena easier.
Upon selecting the squad Jennings said: "Expanding the initial squad to include five youth members provides a strong blend of young talent and experience that will serve Australia well for the upcoming international season.
"With an abundance of talented players currently representing Australia, and many other players capable of doing so in the future, it is important we have the right processes in place to foster player development.
"The Southern Stars had an outstanding international season during 2001-02 and we believe this squad of players will continue the success."
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars returned to Australia last month after securing a 5-1 series victory over Trans-Tasman rival New Zealand.
This followed a successful clean sweep of Tests and one-day internationals against England in July-August 2001.
The 2002-03 international season program is due for release at the end of April.
The 25-player 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.
2002-03 Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars squad announced
The ACB also announced today the 2002-03 Australian youth squad, the Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars.
The Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars squad is:
The Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars completed a 3-1 one-day series victory against New Zealand A in Melbourne between 10-14 February this year. This was followed by a narrow defeat at the hands of the New Zealand senior team on 16 February.
Full fixture details for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars and the Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars will be issued in due course and will be available on the ACB's official website www.baggygreen.com.au