Alana King beats Amanda-Jade Wellington to place in Australia's Ashes squad

Rachael Haynes, Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen return for the multi-format series

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Uncapped Western Australia legspinner Alana King has pipped Amanda-Jade Wellington for a place in Australia's Ashes squad in the absence of Georgia Wareham.
King was a key part of Perth Scorchers' WBBL title triumph earlier this season with 16 wickets 18.25 and an economy of 5.84. However, Wellington, who will instead be with Australia A, can consider herself unlucky having topped the wicket-taking chart with 23 at 16.26 which included the best ever WBBL return of 5 for 8 in the Eliminator final.
Australia have needed to rejig their spin attack for the Ashes with Wareham sidelined for up to a year after suffering an ACL injury in the WBBL. Left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux will also be absent with a stress fracture of her foot but the hope remains she will be available for the World Cup.
National selector Shawn Flegler explained that King was seen as a more like-for-like replacement for the role Wareham played but added that the Australia A players have all been put on notice that they could be needed a short notice short Covid hit the squad.
"[It was] definitely a tight decision," he said. "We talked about this particular role for quite a bit of time. The things we look at is the role that we our legspinner to play in the different formats and we just felt that Alana probably plays that role a little bit better than what we think Amanda would.
"That's not say Amanda couldn't do that role. When we are putting the squad together we are looking at all the different match-ups, conditions and the role they have to play in the team itself.
"They are slightly different bowlers. Alana is probably a little bit quicker through the air and attacks the stumps a little more, Amanda is what you'd probably say is a genuine legspinner where she gives the ball a lot of air and spins it hard. She would play a different role if she played in the Australian team again.
"We aren't closing the door on Amanda. Alana has got the nod this time around and she has opportunity to cement a place in the squad. Alana's numbers stack up very well. She's good in the field, she provides a late-order hitting option and she performed really well in the WBBL."
Key names have returned after missing the India series at the start of the season with Rachael Haynes, Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen all available.
Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Georgia Redmayne and Molly Strano, who were part of the India squad, will feature for Australia A in a concurrent series against England A. Movement between the two squads will be difficult given the tight biosecure restrictions the Ashes will be played under in order to protect players ahead of the ODI World Cup.
The Australia A squad also sees a return for Elyse Villani plus call-ups for talented young batters Phoebe Litchfield and Georgia Voll. Katie Mack, who was prolific at the top of the order for Adelaide Strikers, has also been included. Redmayne will captain the side.
"The 'A' side was selected with an eye on the future as well as ensuring we have a number of players who can come straight into the Australian side and a play a role if required," Flegler said. "It's great to see the likes of Elyse Villani and Grace Harris return to Australian colours as well as Heather Graham, Erin Burns and Amanda-Jade Wellington, while Katie Mack had a really strong WBBL and has been in good form for a while now."
Australia squad Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (capt), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck
Australia A squad Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Phoebe Litchfield, Katie Mack, Georgia Redmayne (capt), Courtney Sippel Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Georgia Voll, Amanda-Jade Wellington

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo