England selectors have today named the 12 strong squad for the forthcoming CricInfo Women's Series against Australia. The teams will play two Test Matches and three One-Day Internationals, starting on Sunday 24th June.
The 12 players are:
Clare Connor (Sussex) Captain; Caps: 53; DOB: 01.09.1976;
Clare Taylor (Yorks) 81; 22.05.1965;
Caroline Atkins (Sussex) 0; 13.01.1981;
Jane Cassar (Notts) Wicket Keeper; 73; 24.12.1972;
Sarah Collyer (Lancs) 15; 03.10.1980;
Laura Harper (Somerset) 8; 21.01.1984;
Jackie Hawker (Somerset) 3; 21.02.1981;
Dawn Holden (Notts) 18; 09.10.1980;
Kate Lowe (Notts) 3; 02.08.1975;
Lucy Pearson (Staffs) 30; 19.02.1972;
Claire Taylor (Berks) 21; 25.09.1975;
Arran Thompson (Lancs) 12; 23.11.1981;
*includes full England ODI and Test Match caps only
England Coach, Jane Powell, said: "I have coached England at U19 and U17 level and we have some extremely talented young players in the squad this summer. The aim now is to build a team capable of winning the next World Cup in 2005 in line with the ECB commitment that England be in the World's top two by 2007. The time is right to give our youngsters a taste of competitive international cricket - and it doesn't get any better than facing the Australians".
England Captain, Clare Connor, said: "We can't wait for the CricInfo Series to start. We know we under-performed at the World Cup and have the perfect opportunity to show we are much better than our final place suggests. Matches against the Australians are always exciting and competitive, and we were involved in a good game against them at the World Cup".
Despite the emphasis on youth, England rely on the experience of the world's best Wicket Keeper, Jane Cassar, and Clare Taylor whose 15 wicket haul at the World Cup was beaten only by Australia's Charmaine Mason. Clare collected her MBE last week, together with the Vodafone Performance of the Year Award for her 3-30 against Australia in the CricInfo World Cup. Both England players were in the winning England World Cup team in 1993.
England will be without the prolific 21-year-old batsman Charlotte Edwards due to injury. Charlotte suffered cruciate ligament damage to her knee and will have surgery in June; she will not play this season.
The England squad has an average age of 23 and includes teenagers Arran Thompson, the 19-year-old England 'A' Team Captain and 17-year old Somerset spinner Laura Harper, both of whom made their senior international debuts against South Africa last summer.
Watching England will be their new Coach, John Harmer, who takes up his post following the CricInfo Series. Harmer previously coached Australia, taking them to two World Cup finals in his seven-year reign, winning the World Champions crown in India in 1997.
The squad is announced a week after the ECB reported record amounts of women and girls playing cricket in England and Wales. 640,824 schoolgirls played cricket last year (2000-01), an increase from 469,483 the year before (1999-2000).
The itinerary for the CricInfo Series is as follows:
4 Day Test Match, Shenley, Hertfordshire, Sun 24 June-Wed 27 June;
One-day International, Derby County Ground, Fri 29 June;
One-day International, Northampton County Ground, Mon 2 July;
One-day International, Lord's Cricket Ground, Tues 3 July;
4 Day Test Match, Headingley, Leeds, Fri 6 July - Mon 9 July;