Team Preview | ICC U-19 Women's T20 World Cup | Australia
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani & Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Cricket Queens
Australia and success in the ICC events go hand-in-hand. This is because they have a stable structure that they keep building on. A system in place & a system that works! There is a lot of emphasis placed on player development and more importantly, an equal emphasis across all age groups and genders. It's what makes them the 'Mighty Australians'.
They take a liking and have a preference for selecting all-rounders in their side. Whether it's the Southern Stars or the U-19 team, the theme remains the same. The U-19 squad boasts 13 players out of 15 who can bowl and bat, with varied degrees of expertise in the two facets for each player.
Australia is placed in Group A alongside Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the USA. Being a full-member nation, they directly qualified for the inaugural edition of the ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup.
The team does not feature any player to have represented the senior team.
Sarah Aley - 3 international caps for Australia and represented New South Wales Breakers for 16 seasons
Erin Osborne - Emerged from the New South Wales Lend Lease Breakers to represent her nation in 121 games across the three formats
Dulip Samaraweera - 12 caps for Sri Lanka and has been doing the coaching duties with Victoria Women & Melbourne Stars in the WBBL
With one eye on the global tournament, Cricket Australia (CA) launched the ‘National Championship’ that took place between December 5 to 12 in Perth, with the intention of selecting the best squad for the U-19 World Cup. In September, CA also conducted a 3-match Lanning XII vs Perry XII T20 series with the country’s 25 best talents divided into 2 teams.
These players have had a lot of game time courtesy of these competitions being organized by CA, but their challenge lies ahead in the global tournament as they have had no experience of playing any U-19 internationals, like some of the other countries have. Some of the players involved have rubbed their shoulders with Australia's best in the WBBL & they will be counting on that experience to go big in the tournament.
The likes of Darcie Brown, Phoebe Litchfield, Georgia Voll, Charli Knott, and Tess Flintoff missed out as they couldn’t tick the eligibility criteria of being 18 years old or younger on August 31, 2022.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Lucy Hamilton - The very first name on the list for the Australia U-19s is Lucy Hamilton. You just cannot look past this talented youngster. Hailing from Queensland, Hamilton has already featured in the WBBL at a very young age & it's a testament to her ability. The left-arm pacer generally takes the new ball and swings it with good control. But, what makes her a standout at such a young age is that she can operate from both sides of the wicket with accuracy. She uses the Round the Wicket angle once the swing is gone & good luck to the batters because Hamilton is going to nail her yorkers! This isn't all that Hamilton has to offer. She is a left-handed batter who gives it a proper whack. She can dispatch the ball to both sides and clear the ropes with her power-hitting.
Jade Allen - The NSW Country skipper is going to pose a serious threat with her wrist spin. She is yet another player with WBBL experience and finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker in the Championship with 11 wickets. She is a handy contributor with the bat as well.
Milly Illingworth - The all-rounder has shades of Ellyse Perry with a few of the things. To no surprise, she hails from Perry's adopted state - Victoria. Illingworth has the same stance as Perry. She taps the bat with her hands on her bent knees & has a few similarities with Perry's slingshot-like bowling. However, Illingworth's arm rotation is more than Perry's & she bowls gas. Illingworth has to be the quickest pacer that you will see in the upcoming tournament.
Ella Hayward - Hayward's numbers in the National Championship don't do justice. She can bat, but her real value is with her off-spin bowling. She is quicker through the air & is accurate. While she got just one wicket in the Championship, I see a good chance why she could be a lot more destructive in the U-19 World Cup. She has the WBBL experience with the Melbourne Renegades and has been a pretty decent performer.
Ella Wilson - Another all-rounder. Surprised? Wilson takes the new ball and is a fairly accurate pacer. What's more impressive about Wilson is her intent and how she muscles the ball to the leg side with her powerful slog-sweeps.
Chloe Ainsworth - The all-rounder from WACA is another potent option for Australia. Ainsworth was one of the top run-scorers in the Championship & bowls pretty accurately with the new ball.
Claire Moore - The tall right-handed batter has a very Georgia Adams-like build. Moore strikes it cleanly and can dispatch the spinners to the long-on boundary. She also chips in with her off-spin.
Kate Pelle - The opener from NSW Metro is a sweet timer of the ball. She scored 144 runs in the Championship and was only dismissed once to finish with a high average. She picks up the length well and caresses the ball through the off.
While it's another strong squad that has traveled to South Africa, I don't see them starting as the favorites to lift the trophy. They will be a force to reckon with, as they always are. But, there are teams that look stronger and capable of defeating them.