Lauren Cheatle’s perseverance to beat two years of injuries and the left-armer’s ability to swing the new ball have earned her a recall to Australia’s one-day squad for the series against New Zealand.
One of Australia’s best young talents as a 17-year-old debutant three years ago, Cheatle has not played international cricket since March 2017 due to back and shoulder injuries.
The 20-year-old was included in Australia’s 13-player squad for the three-match trans-Tasman series, with selectors sticking with the majority of the group that won the World Twenty20 last November.
Quick Tayla Vlamenik (knee) and opening bat Nicole Bolton (personal leave) are missing for the Rose Bowl series – which Australia haven’t lost since 2000 – while Delissa Kimmince has been overlooked.
Cheatle is the only new inclusion, reclaiming the spot she only lost through illness and injury.
“It was hard at the start of the season,” Cheatle said of her injuries. “I was thinking about it every time I got to the bowling crease. But having injury-free summer has made it a lot easier.”
Cheatle took seven wickets in NSW’s last three games of the 50-over domestic league and her ability to swing the ball back late and claim lbws is a big plus. She is also the only left-arm pace bowler to represent Australia since Emma Liddell in 2005.
“It helps that there aren’t many going around,” Cheatle said. “I’d like to think it’s a point of difference they want in their side. I’m pretty lucky to be a lefty.”
She will likely be given the new ball if she does play, particularly for the series opener at the hard and fast Waca Ground on 22 February before the series moves to Adelaide and Melbourne.
“She swings the new ball which is a very good asset to have,’ captain Meg Lanning said. “We’ve seen what she’s been able to do when she gets some continuous cricket together.”
Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen has also been named after missing the last one-day series against Pakistan through a knee injury, while batter Elyse Villani must beat a hamstring injury to feature.
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (captain), Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham.