Aust cricket selectors look to the future

Teenage quick Darcie Brown and Hannah Darlington, 20, have been picked in Australia's women's squad for the white-ball NZ tour as selectors look to the future.

ELLYSE PERRY of NSW leaves the field after being dismissed during the WNCL Final match between New South Wales and Western Australia at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia.
ELLYSE PERRY of NSW leaves the field after being dismissed during the WNCL Final match between New South Wales and Western Australia at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Australia's selectors have cast an eye to an eventual changing of the guard in their all-conquering women's cricket team, taking two uncapped quicks to New Zealand.

Seventeen-year-old Darcie Brown was on Tuesday named in an extended squad, along with 20-year-old Hannah Darlington for the three ODIs and T20s next month.

Ellyse Perry has also been included after making her come back from a hamstring tear, while young quick Tayla Vlaeminck is back after her injury woes.

But it is Brown and Darlington's selections that stand out.

COVID restrictions forced selectors to take 17 players, and they have opted for fast-bowling back up for Perry and Vlaeminck.

Brown only made her WBBL debut for Adelaide this summer, but is already tipped to be one of the fastest bowlers in the women's game after taking 10 wickets and going at less than a run a ball.

Meanwhile bowling allrounder Darlington is considered one of the next bright lights out of the NSW system, winning the WBBL semi-final with the ball for Sydney Thunder en route to the title.

"We've got probably some of the best players in the history of Australian cricket, playing right now," chief selector Shawn Flegler said.

"But at some point the end comes for everyone.

"So, we need to make sure that that team keeps evolving and keeps getting stronger. And that will have to take place over the next few years."

Five members of last year's World Cup winning squad are now over 30, while there are no signs the likes of Alyssa Healy and Perry are ready to walk away yet, selectors know they are closer to the end than the start.

Australia went through a rough period when the previous generation walked away, failing to make the 2009 World Cup final after winning the previous edition.

But with a Commonwealth Games and 50-over World Cup next year followed by a T20 tournament in 2023, selectors have regularly introduced youth in recent years with Sophie Molineux, Annabel Sutherland and Georgia Wareham.

"You have to keep evolving as a team, you can't stand still," Flegler added.

"The challenge is finding the right opportunities at the right time for those players."

Australia squad: Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes, Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Belinda Vakarewa, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.