Quick ready to intimidate in women's Ashes

A 14-woman squad has been named to tour England and defend Australia's Ashes win from 2017.
A 14-woman squad has been named to tour England and defend Australia's Ashes win from 2017.

One of Australia's five potential Test debutants in a star-studded Ashes squad, tearaway Tayla Vlaeminck is bowling faster than ever and ready to intimidate England.

Australia's coach Matthew Mott on Tuesday unveiled the 14-woman touring party set to defend the title, with Meg Lanning expected to captain the side in the three-format series that starts on July 2.

Vlaeminck was included after recovering from a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, having previously undergone two knee reconstructions to repair ruptured ACLs.

The 20-year-old, rated so highly that she made her international debut before playing a women's Big Bash League match, will be taking part in her first Ashes.

Lanning, among many good judges impressed with Vlaeminck's express pace during a recent training camp in Brisbane, suggested her teammate was capable of clocking similar speeds to the world's fastest bowlers like English spearhead Katherine Brunt.

Vlaeminck, who worked overtime during the off-season to prove her fitness, can't wait to test England's top order.

"I feel like if anything I'm probably bowling quicker than I was before I got injured," Vlaeminck told reporters in Melbourne.

"The extra work in the gym probably helped with that. Hopefully I can continue that and get a bit quicker.

"All fast bowlers are pretty competitive. So whenever I can intimidate and bowl a few bouncers, I love doing that."

Vlaeminck, Nicola Carey, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham and Ashleigh Gardner are all in the mix to receive baggy greens on July 18, when Taunton hosts the only Test of the tour.

Lanning suggested Vlaeminck's pace could be a point of difference in Australia's attack.

"Hopefully it can be a weapon for us," Lanning said.

"You need to take 20 wickets to win a Test ... you need to have variety in your attack."

There was no room in the squad for spinner Sophie Molineux, who is the only contracted player to miss out after battling to recover from shoulder surgery.

But Molineux could still feature in the series after being named in an Australia A squad that will tour at the same time, with selectors happy to swap players between the groups.

Ellyse Perry, who scored an unbeaten double-ton in the previous Ashes Test at North Sydney Oval in 2017, and Alyssa Healy, the best short-form player in the women's game after being player of the tournament at last year's T20 World Cup, shape as key players once again for Australia.

Nicole Bolton returns from time away from the game on personal leave.

"Ashes series are huge moments in our careers. We always look forward to these series," Lanning said.

"We expect a really tough battle."

Australian Associated Press