Home games against India and England and the prospect of Australia playing against Australia A are among Cricket Australia’s plans to provide their world-renowned women’s team with the best possible preparation for next year’s ODI World Cup.
Ensuring that big profits made from the Women Pathways program are not wasted is another top priority amid the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.
No area of cricket has been left untouched by COVID-19, in the men’s or women’s game, with reduced budgets and delayed tours.
Australia A series’ were put on hold and no National Performance Squad programs took place in 2020, for both genders.
Cricket Australia Female High Performance Manager Shawn Flegler is looking forward to seeing both back in 2021 amid what is supposed to be a busy year for the senior Australian players.
Flegler offered cricket.com.au insight into his plans for the country’s top female talent – which does come with a COVID-19 reservation and is subject to budget approval – as he tries to get the world-leading program back on track after interrupted 2020 .
Australia’s top-ranked women’s team will embark on their first overseas tour since the start of the pandemic next month, when they travel to New Zealand for three ODIs and three T20Is.
With the rescheduled ODI World Cup to be played in NZ in March and April 2022, it is a perfect opportunity for Meg Lanning’s team to get to know the conditions.
In July, Flegler plans to host up to 30 of the country’s top players in Queensland for a comprehensive training camp that could also provide the delectable prospect of a series of matches between Australia and Australia A, reminiscent of the popular but controversial Australia v Australia A series in the men’s game over 25 years ago.
An ODI series against India, postponed from January, will be moved to September-October and will be expanded to include T20Is before playing the seventh edition of the Rebel WBBL.
England will also travel to Australia for an Ashes series in various formats during the summer of 2021-22, before both teams depart for the World Cup in New Zealand.
There are also plans for England to bring their ‘A’ team for the Ashes, as Australia did for the 2019 UK edition.
“We would like to have some sort of A v Australia series from Australia by the end of winter,” Flegler told cricket.com.au.
“(We would) identify players who we think will be used in the Ashes, for Australia A against England A and then for the ODI World Cup and Commonwealth Games (in 2022), so we have a group of 25 to 30 players before that (winter camp).
“It’s a challenge with COVID with those A-tours, but especially now with the strength of our (senior) side, it’s important to offer international opportunities to the next tier of players.”
As no National Performance Squads have been named for 2020-21, the program is scheduled to resume this year, although its format will depend on whether the first edition of the Women’s Under-19 World Cup continues as scheduled in December in Bangladesh.
The International Cricket Council will call next month.
The NPS program, which trains a group of promising young players at the National Cricket Center throughout the winter, boasts recent graduates including Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Tayla Vlaeminck and Annabel Sutherland, all of whom have rapidly progressed to senior side.
“If the Under-19 World Cup goes on as planned, it will likely be more of an NPS under-19 program,” said Flegler.
“If not, it will probably be more of an Australian A program with some of the best under 19.
“I can’t see it’s the full schedule we’ve had in the past, it will be a shortened version … but it’s been a strong point over the years, those players who got access to that training schedule and beyond. seamlessly fit into the Australian setup.
“We don’t want to drop that completely, we’ve been through 12 months without – and it’s the same for the guys – you have to invest in development.
“I think it’s critical that we get it back up and running as soon as possible. It will depend on ongoing borderline issues … but the absolute plan is to get something going.”
Outside of the major events, including the Ashes, World Cups and Commonwealth Games, Australia’s commitments for the next few years are currently murky.
The ICC has yet to complete the next edition of the Women’s Future Tours program, but Flegler hopes the series against India will count towards the next edition of the ODI Championship this summer, the four-year round robin competition with eight teams that counts for the World Cup qualification. .
“Hopefully we will have a new future tour schedule with the next women’s championship schedule (coming soon),” he said. “There will be no shortage of cricket.”
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