Australia drop selection bombshell for T20 World Cup

Australia have sprung a selection shock for their T20 World Cup title defence, including leg-spinner Georgia Wareham in their 15-player squad for the tournament in South Africa.

Wareham has not played a T20 match since rupturing her ACL in October 2021, and only played her first match since incurring the injury last Thursday when she turned out for Victoria in the domestic one-day competition.

As expected, Meg Lanning will skipper Australia’s bid for a T20 World Cup ‘three-peat’ and the three-game series against Pakistan beginning January 24 that will precede it, following her return from a six-month break from the game.

They’re back! Lanning and Wareham make welcome return

Alyssa Healy has also been named to make her return from the calf strain she suffered during last month’s T20 tour of India, which will keep the keeper-opener out of the three-game ODI series against Pakistan starting January 16.

Australia’s T20 World Cup squad: Meg Lanning (c), Alyssa Healy (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

Australia have made two changes to the 15-player squad that defeated India 4-1, with Lanning and Wareham replacing Phoebe Litchfield and Nicola Carey, who have both been omitted.

Wareham has been selected ahead of fellow leggie Amanda-Jade Wellington, who was a late addition to the India tour following a mid-series injury to Jess Jonassen and who was also the second wrist spinner in Australia’s Commonwealth Games squad last August and in last year’s 50-over World Cup squad.

Two-time T20 World Cup winner Wareham, who tore her ACL while fielding for the Melbourne Renegades in WBBL|07, is one of two leg-spinners included in the World Cup touring party alongside Alana King, who enjoyed a breakout year at international level in 2022 after earning her shot in the national side following the Victorian’s injury.

“It’s always tough to narrow a squad down to just 15 players, but we’re confident we’ve picked a well-balanced side that’s well placed for the series against Pakistan and ready to challenge for a third consecutive T20 title,” National Selector Shawn Flegler said.

“(Meg and Georgia) bring a wealth of experience to the group, which is always crucial during major tournaments … Georgia in particular, has had a tough run of injuries, but she’s shown a great deal of resilience and her return is a real boost for the side.”

Wareham, who is one of just two squad members to have previously played in South Africawas scratchy in her return game against NSW at Junction Oval last Thursday but was much improved in Saturday’s second game against the Breakers, dismissing both NSW openers.

Wareham returns to the wickets with two against NSW

“Alyssa and Jess are expected to be fully fit and firing after minor injuries as well, so we’ve got a full-strength squad with plenty of variety with both bat and ball if required,” Flegler said.

“Unfortunately, there was no room for Nicola, Phoebe or Amanda-Jade, but they’re still well and truly in our plans and are on standby should they be required.”

Kim Garth is set to feature in her third T20 World Cup – but her first as an Australia player – following her debut in the green and gold last month. The former Irish all-rounder played for her native Ireland at the 2016 and 2018 tournaments.

You’re in! The moment Garth found out she was debuting

Nine members of Australia’s triumphant 2020 squad will feature in the title defense, with Rachael Haynes, Delissa Kimmince (both retired), Sophie Molineux (injured), Nicola Carey, Erin Burns and Molly Strano missing, alongside Tayla Vlaeminck, who was ruled out on the eve of that tournament with a foot injury and who remains on the sidelines as she recovers from a recurrence of the same stress fracture.

Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Heather Graham and Grace Harris will all play in the 20-over ICC tournament for the first time; Harris was initially selected for the 2016 event in India but was a last-minute withdrawal after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis.

Australia’s World Cup matches will be played across Paarl’s Boland Park and at St George’s Park in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), while the tournament finals are to be played at Newlands in Cape Town.

It is unfamiliar territory for Australia; the only time a senior Australian women’s side has toured the African nation was during the 2005 50-over World Cup.

A planned bilateral tour in 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic, while an Australia Under-19s side toured South Africa in 2018 with a squad that included Wareham and Annabel Sutherland.

Australia will play three one-day internationals against Pakistan before the three T20Is against the same opposition, with the first ODI to be held at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field on January 16.

Following the final T20I in Canberra on January 29, they will travel to South Africa to begin their World Cup preparations.

Australia are aiming to add a third consecutive title to the trophies won in 2018 and 2020.

Women’s CommBank T20I Series v Pakistan

Tuesday Jan 24: North Sydney Oval, 1:45pm

Thursday Jan 26: Blundstone Arena, Hobart, 7:05pm

Sunday Jan 29: Manuka Oval, Canberra, 1.45pm

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023

Group A: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

Group B: England, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland

Australia’s T20 World Cup 2023 fixtures

Feb 11: v New Zealand, Boland Park, Paarl, 7pm local (4am Feb 12 AEDT)

Feb 14: v Bangladesh, St George’s Park, Gqeberha, 7pm local (4am Feb 15 AEDT)

Feb 16: v Sri Lanka, St George’s Park, Gqeberha, 3pm local (12am Feb 17 AEDT)

Feb 18: v South Africa, St George’s Park, Gqeberha, 7pm local (4am Feb 19 AEDT)


Feb 23: Newlands, Cape Town, 3pm local (12am Feb 24 AEDT)

Feb 24: Newlands, Cape Town, 3pm local (12am Feb 25 AEDT)


Feb 26: Newlands, Cape Town, 3pm local (12am Feb 27 AEDT)

Buy #AUSvPAK T20 tickets here

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