Australia women have picked two uncapped teenagers for their three-match T20I series against New Zealand women at home. Georgia Wareham, the Victoria legspinner, and fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck, both 19 years of age, were named in a 13-player squad, led by Meg Lanning. The series will serve as preparation for the Women's World T20 in the West Indies in November. Jess Jonassen, the experienced left-arm spinner, missed out after sustaining a knee injury in an internal trial match on the Gold Coast this week.
"There's no doubt it's a big jump up to the international stage, but both Tayla and Georgia have come through the National Performance Squad programme over the winter," Lanning said. "I'm really confident that's prepared them very well to come into our side and really contribute."
Wareham has been a part of the national performance squad for some time now, and has played in the Women's Big Bash League, where she turns out for the Melbourne Renegades. Vlaeminck has had to endure a rough road to the national side, having undergone two knee reconstruction procedures, and a dislocated shoulder. She spent the last season recovering from a second ACL injury.
"It's pleasing to see young players, such as Georgia and Tayla, putting their hand up for selection," Shawn Flegler, the national selector, said. "Whilst they haven't played a lot of domestic cricket, Georgia has represented the Melbourne Renegades in the WBBL, and both players have come through the player pathway, having taken part in the inaugural overseas under-19 tour and been a part of the national performance squad this winter.
"We're really fortunate with the depth we have, in particular in the leg-spin department, and we feel that Georgia provides the full package that is required for T20 cricket - she's an outstanding fielder, and her bowling has really progressed over the last 12 months."
"Tayla is a little bit different to anyone else around the country. She's been unlucky with injury over the last few years, but she's come back and has performed at the right time. Tayla has the attributes to be that key strike bowler who can take early wickets. She's young and competitive."
Even as they welcome new talent into the side, Australia will be sweating over the fitness of Jonassen. With 58 caps, the 25-year-old Jonassen, who is the No. 7-ranked T20I bowler in the world, is one of Australia's most experienced players and could have a big role to play in the World T20.
However, she is set to undergo arthroscopic surgery, which puts her participation in the tournament in doubt. Team physiotherapist Kate Mahony said that the procedure, which is set to take place later in the week, will present a clearer picture regarding the timeframe for a potential return.
Australia and New Zealand face off in three T20Is, beginning on September 29 in Sydney. Brisbane and Canberra are scheduled to host the other two matches. In October, they fly to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to face Pakistan for three ODIs and three T20Is.