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News

Garth gets Australia call-up; Healy named captain for India T20I tour

Uncapped teenager Phoebe Litchfield and allrounder Heather Graham have also been included in the squad

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
21-Nov-2022
Kim Garth in her follow-through, Group B, Women's World T20 2018, Guyana, November 17, 2018

Kim Garth moved to Australia from Ireland in 2020  •  ICC via Getty

Kim Garth, the former Ireland allrounder, is on the verge of playing international cricket for a second country after earning her first Australia call-up for next month's T20I tour of India.
Garth, 26, moved to Australia in 2020 when she took up a contract with Cricket Victoria, and gained permanent residency last year, which made her eligible for Australia selection once she had completed three years since last playing for Ireland which was reached in September. She has played 34 ODIs and 51 T20Is for Ireland, taking a combined 65 wickets and scoring 1210 runs.
"[Kim has] been in our thinking, she's had a couple of strong seasons with the ball and adds extra depth to our pace-bowling stocks," national selector Shawn Flegler said. "She's a new-ball option but has a great change of pace as well."
She is joined in the 15-player squad, which will be captained by Alyssa Healy in the ongoing absence of Meg Lanning, by the uncapped Phoebe Litchfield. Litchfield, 19, is regarded as one of the brightest batting prospects in the game in the country. Allrounder Heather Graham has also been recalled.
Garth has been consistent with the ball in the WBBL for Melbourne Stars this year, taking 12 wickets at an economy rate of 6.71. She was the leading wicket-taker for Stars last season, picking up 15 wickets. So far, she has taken five wickets in four WNCL matches this summer for Victoria.
"It's one of the most exciting names in the squad," Healy said. "She made the move to Australia to try and do just this, play for Australia. The way she has developed over the years is impressive. Her new-ball skills with T20 cricket is what we need and she also has variations through the middle that are very handy. She's a great addition. Everyone is very excited for her. It's a big move to come all the way for Ireland to chase a dream, and she's done that. I am sure she is going to look at home in the green and gold and hopefully she can have a great career."
Litchfield was Sydney Thunder's leading scorer in their disappointing season, where they managed just one win, making 280 runs at 23.33 with a strike rate of 117.64, and has been able to add some power to her natural timing.
Graham previously played one ODI in 2019 and was a reserve player during the ODI World Cup earlier this year, where she was briefly added to the main squad when Ashleigh Gardner had Covid. She was also called up for the tri-series in Ireland in July.
She has scored 237 runs at 29.62 with a strike rate of 122.16 so far in the WBBL for Hobart Hurricanes, who will play in the Eliminator against Brisbane Heat on Wednesday, alongside taking eight wickets.
"Without Meg and Rachael [Haynes], this series will provide opportunities for players, particularly in the top order, so we're looking forward to seeing who puts their hand up," Flegler said. "It's pleasing to have been able to reward Phoebe, Kim and Heather for strong form throughout the WBBL, and hopefully they get the chance to show what they can do at some stage during the series.
"We've had an eye on Phoebe for a while and she's really taken her game to the next level this summer. She's made her mark at the top of the order for the Sydney Thunder and we're looking forward to seeing what she can do in Australian colours.
"Heather hasn't had many opportunities to break into the side, but she's toiled away with both bat and ball in domestic cricket. She adds depth to the middle order and provides Shelley [Nitschke, the coach] and Alyssa with another pace-bowling option."
As expected, Lanning will not make the tour with no indication as yet as to whether she will be available for next year's T20 World Cup in South Africa. Healy was named vice-captain last month following the retirement of Rachael Haynes, and will now lead her country for the first time. Tahlia McGrath will be her vice-captain for the tour.
The most significant omissions are legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, who was part of the ODI World Cup squad in New Zealand, and wicketkeeper-batter Georgia Redmayne, who has been on the fringes of selection over the last couple of years without making a debut.
Both have had good WBBL returns: Wellington has taken 21 wickets at 15.09 with an economy of 6.62, and Redmayne has scored 333 runs at 41.62 despite missing the last four matches through injury.
"These five matches form an important part of the team's preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup in South Africa as well as providing an opportunity for some players to gain some experience in Indian conditions," Flegler said. "India will be a good test; they're a strong side and the two teams have had some good battles in recent times."
The five-match series begins on December 9, with all the games taking place in Mumbai across the DY Patil and Brabourne stadiums.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo