Australia have called up two potential debutants for the upcoming limited-overs tour of the West Indies, with allrounders Erin Burns and Heather Graham in line to make their maiden appearances in the green and gold.
A 14-player squad for the Caribbean tour – which will see Australia and West Indies meet in three ODIs and three T20Is – was revealed on Friday morning, with selectors adding the uncapped pair and omitting three members of the touring party that romped to an emphatic women's Ashes victory in England last month.
AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Heather Graham, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Burns and Graham, who were both part of the Australia A squad that toured the United Kingdom alongside the senior Australian side, come into the group at the expense of batters Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani and allrounder Sophie Molineux.
Graham, 23, was named Domestic Player of the Year at the Australian Cricket Awards in February after an outstanding summer for both Western Australia and Perth Scorchers.
The medium-pacer topped the wickets tally in the Rebel WBBL, taking 22 wickets at 16.95, while she starred with the bat in the 50-over Women's National Cricket League, scoring 294 runs at 49 including one century and three fifties.
Burns, 31, has been something of a journeywoman of Australian cricket, playing her junior cricket in her native New South Wales before moving to Tasmania to take up a domestic contract.
More recently she moved to the ACT, before making the switch back to where it all began earlier this year when she picked up a contract with the NSW Breakers for the 2019-20 summer.
She finished fourth on the wickets table in the WNCL last summer, taking 10 wickets at 19.2 with her off-spin, while it was with the bat that she made the biggest impression for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL, striking her 250 runs at 129.53, playing a key role in the middle-order behind the likes of Australian stars Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner.
"Heather was named the Domestic Player of the Year last season and was a member of the National Performance Squad as well as Australia's 'A' tour to England, so we know exactly what she is capable of with both bat and ball," said National Selector Shawn Flegler.
"Her skills with the ball will add further depth to the team's pace bowling stocks while her batting ability could see her play an important role in the middle-order.
"Erin has also been a standout performer at domestic level and has had to bide her time for a national call-up. A handy middle-order batter, her off-spin will help to fill the void created by the omission of Sophie Molineux.
"These selections reinforce our desire to select players with a view to the T20 World Cup next year who offer versatility, can play a designated role and offer skills in a number of different facets of the game."
Molineux made a major impact after being a late call-up to the multi-format Ashes, making her Test debut and playing two of the three T20Is, but will sit out the Caribbean tour as she continues to rehabilitate the shoulder she injured earlier this year.
Villani was unable to break into the Australian XI throughout the seven-game Ashes series, which saw Australia retain the trophy in emphatic fashion with 12 points to England's four, while Bolton – who returned to the Australian side for the Ashes after missing the previous series against New Zealand – has made herself unavailable for this series.
"Elyse unfortunately couldn't force her way into the playing XI in the recent Ashes series and the selection panel believes the first round of WNCL is an ideal opportunity for her to redefine her batting and present a strong case for selection ahead of a busy summer," Flegler said.
"Nicole has made herself unavailable for selection and we are working closely with her and the WACA to provide her the support she needs as she continues to manage her health.
"Sophie will also miss the tour to give her the opportunity to focus on her shoulder rehab after a large workload over the last seven weeks. With a big season ahead including the World Cup its important she gets her body 100 per cent right and this break will hopefully allow her to do that."
The Australian squad will depart for the Caribbean next week.
CommBank Tour of the West Indies
*ICC Women's Championship matches
September 5: First ODI, Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua
September 8: Second ODI, Sir Viv Richards Ground, Antigua
September 11: Third ODI, Sir Viv Richards Ground, Antigua
September 14: First T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados
September 16: Second T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados
September 18: Third T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados