Veterans Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen, Australia’s two highest ranked bowlers, were out as the hosts named an 18-player squad led by Meg Lanning for next month’s multi-format series against India.

While pace spearhead Schutt has requested the selectors to not consider her for selection due to personal reasons, spin bowling all-rounder Jonassen will miss the assignment after suffering a bone stress injury in her tibia. Another notable absentee from the 18-member squad is Belinda Vakarewa, who is also skipping the series due to personal reasons.

The uncapped Maitlan Brown, who was part of the squad against New Zealand last year, returned after a long layoff due to a hamstring injury while Stella Campbell and Georgia Redmayne got their first national call-ups.

India’s tour Down Under, starting September 19, will have three ODIs, three T20Is and one Day-Night Test.

The series is scheduled to begin with the ODIs on September 19 in Sydney (there is a possibility of a change in fixtures due to the ongoing coronavirus-enforced lockdown in New South Wales), followed by the lone Test at the WACA in Perth on September 30 and conclude with the T20Is in Sydney from October 7.

“We’re fully supportive of the requests from Belinda and Megan to not be considered for selection and will continue to work with them to ensure they have the appropriate support,” national selector Shawn Flegler said.

“As leader of the bowling attack, Megan’s absence will provide the opportunity for someone else to play the type of role she has so well over a lengthy period.

“Jess is another big loss and will be disappointed to miss out, but she’s another one that’s worked hard over the winter and with a long summer ahead, her focus will be to get herself right with a lot of cricket left in the season.”

Redmayne, who has been playing for Welsh Fire in the women’s Hundred, has been rewarded for her prolific WNCL form for Queensland last season, where she scored 531 runs at 132.75 with two centuries. She was also Brisbane Heat’s leading run-scorer in the WBBL with 357 at 32.45.

Pacer Campbell, who plays for New South Wales and Sydney Sixers, joins a growing list of young quicks in the Australia set-up alongside Tayla Vlaeminck, Darcie Brown and Maitlan Brown.

She only managed three wickets at 70.66 in last season’s WNCL but was the Sixers’’ joint second-leading wicket-taker in the WBBL with ten scalps.

Australia squad:

Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes, Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.

With PTI Inputs