Australia have signalled their intention to focus on the 2009 World Cup, with five new faces included in the women's squad for 2007-08. In all, six changes were made from last season's line-up and four of the new players are yet to make their international debut.
The uncapped Sarah Aley, Charlotte Anneveld, Emma Inglis and Renee Chappell have made the list for the first time, as has Emma Sampson, who made her ODI debut in India in February. Kris Britt, the South Australia allrounder, has been rewarded for her strong state form, returning to the squad after missing out the last two seasons.
Cathryn Fitzpatrick's retirement opened up one spot but five players have also been omitted. Veterans Julie Hayes and Michelle Goszko were not included after losing their places in the ODI team following the Rose Bowl series in October. Jenny Wallace, Lauren Ebsary and Kelly Applebee were also dropped.
Inglis, 18, will be Australia's back-up wicketkeeper after only two seasons in the Women's National Cricket League. Her 12 dismissals for Victoria were the most for any player in 2006-07. Britt had an excellent domestic season, scoring 279 runs at 55.80 and taking seven wickets at 27.57. She will be keen to add to her nine ODIs, the last of which she played in 2004.
Chappell becomes the only Western Australia player in the squad, while Sampson is one of four South Australians. Sampson's ten WNCL wickets at 24.10 earned her a trip to India, where she proved a handy new-ball bowler.
Aley and Anneveld, both from New South Wales, provide all-round options. Anneveld's 15 wickets in 2006-07 was the third-most of any player in the domestic competition, behind only Fitzpatrick and Clea Smith.
The changes leave Karen Rolton and Shelley Nitschke as the only players over 30, while 13 of the 18 chosen are 25 or under. Margaret Jennings, the chair of selectors, said it was important to bring fresh faces into the side.
"Maintaining a blend of experience and young talent in the squad is important for the next 12 months of competition and with the 2009 World Cup on the horizon," she said. "We have promoted some young players and with the retirement of Cathryn and loss of other experienced players there is a gap to be filled."
The 18 squad members will train at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane in June and September. Australia's next challenge on the field will be against New Zealand in the Rose Bowl at Darwin in July.
Squad Sarah Aley, Sarah Andrews, Charlotte Anneveld, Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Kris Britt, Melissa Bulow, Renee Chappell, Sarah Edwards, Emma Inglis, Shelley Nitschke, Kirsten Pike, Leah Poulton, Jodie Purves, Karen Rolton, Emma Sampson, Clea Smith, Lisa Sthalekar.