The Australia women’s Under-19 team is set to play for the first time in 15 years when they travel to South Africa for a tri-series, also featuring England, in April. Having last played a match in 2003, against England at home, the tour will also be the maiden overseas foray for the Under-19 side.
The Cricket Australia Women’s youth selection panel named a 14-member squad that will take on South Africa’s Emerging Women and England Women’s Academy across four 50-over matches – between April 12 and 18 – and two Twenty20s, on April 24 and 26. The final will be a 50-over match and will be played on April 28. The team will be coached by former Australia batsman and current Cricket Australia high performance coach and Under-19 head coach Leah Poulton, with Ben Sawyer and Luke Williams acting in the assistant roles.
The leadership duties will be split across the formats, with 16-year-old allrounder Rachel Trenaman named captain of the 50-over side, with Tasmanian Courtney Webb her deputy. The T20 side will be led by Saskia Horley, with Annabel Sutherland shouldering vice-captaincy responsibilities.
“I think it just goes to show how fast the female pathway has moved over the last few years,” Poulton said of the decision to reintroduce the Under-19 team. “It’s an exciting time for women’s cricket and if Australia wants to stay at the top we really need to invest in our pathway, which I believe we’re doing well.
“The tour presents a really good opportunity for the players to get a taste of what it’s like to be in an elite touring environment. Putting your skills to the test in a variety of different conditions and situations is an essential part of being an elite cricketer.
“England and South Africa are two very good teams who will present some good challenges for the group. We want the players to be tested and to be pushed outside their comfort zones and to have to adapt to the different situations they find themselves in. This is a really exciting group of players who I think all have big futures in the game so I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform.”
The re-integration of an Under-19 side comes on the back of structural changes made to the female pathway which brought it in line with the male pathway, with an Australia A side, Cricket Australia XI and National Performance Squad replacing the previous Under-21 Shooting Stars.
Australia Under-19 squad: Stella Campbell (NSW), Maddy Darke (NSW), Hannah Darlington (NSW), Josephine Dooley (Queensland), Ellen Falconer (South Australia), Nicole Faltum (Victoria), Saskia Horley (NSW), Hayley Silver-Holmes (NSW), Annabel Sutherland (Victoria), Rachel Trenaman (NSW), Tayla Vlaeminck (Victoria), Georgia Wareham (Victoria), Courtney Webb (Tasmania), Tahlia Wilson (NSW)