Australia's allrounders set for increased batting role
With a busy summer to come Australia will be looking to expand the pool of players they can select from
Australia's tour of the West Indies, which begins with the opening ODI in Antigua on Thursday, is a chance for them to explore the depth they have available ahead of a home season which will place significant demands on the players.
Though the core of the squad is similar to the one that retained the Ashes, there are new faces in Heather Graham and Erin Burns while there will be an opportunity for those who had a fringe role in England to have more game time with 14 players on the trip.
This tour, which includes three ODIs and three T20Is, continues a hectic period for Australia's women cricketers coming just a month after they completed the Ashes tour and is followed shortly after they return home with ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka.
They will then be involved in the first standalone WBBL, running from mid-October to early December, before international cricket resumes at the end of January with a T20I tri-series involving England and India which acts as preparation for the T20 World Cup in late February. The season then concludes with a tour of South Africa.
It all adds up to an unprecedented workload for the players - something coach Matthew Mott has acknowledged is likely to require rotation - and this series in the Caribbean will be an opportunity to further expand the pool of players Mott and captain Meg Lanning feel comfortable calling on.
With Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani out, there are also fewer top-order batting options than were available in England which will put more onus on the likes of Lanning and Alyssa Healy while also allowing the allrounders to play a leading role with the bat.
"We'll definitely need to have another allrounder given the balance of the squad but those players can be genuine bats at times; Nicola Carey, Heather Graham, Jess Jonassen, they can all bat extremely well and would fit into our middle order really well," Lanning said. "We aren't too worried about that, we think it's a great opportunity for them to come in and play some good cricket but at the same time it's important our top order will do the job."
While there are Women's Championship points on offer for the ODIs - which go towards qualification for 2021 World Cup - the T20Is, which follow are a further opportunity to hone skills ahead of next year's T20 World Cup where Australia will be defending champions on home soil.