Australia have a focus on their first bilateral tour of Bangladesh as a valuable intelligence-gathering mission ahead of the T20 World Cup later in the year amid what shapes as a squeeze for spin-bowling spots.
“We’ve got a couple of venues in Bangladesh that the World Cup will be played at so that will be part of the investigating during the tour, about how wickets are going to play,” Shawn Flegler, the national selector, said.
“She’s been highly-rated by the Australian set-up for a long time and just great to have her back playing,” Flegler said. “It’s pretty clear having a left-arm orthodox spinner playing international cricket is pretty good. We’ve been blessed with the amount of spin options we’ve had; we’ve had a left-arm spinner either Jess Jonassen or Soph involved in our World Cups over the last seven campaigns, so we’ll see that continuing, I’m sure. It’s going to be a tight squeeze over the next few series, but really blessed to have those options available to us.”
“Ash’s performances over the last 12, 18, 24 months have been outstanding and she’s taken on the senior spinner role and Georgia Wareham has come back into the team. Thought she bowled better and better as the tour went on in India,” Flegler said. “[Georgia] also adds a pretty powerful lower-order batting option and is outstanding in the field.
“I’ve said a few times, we value those three skillsets really highly and if you can do all three that certainly gives you a leg up selection and that’s where Georgia and Ash have got the nod at the moment. Jess is certainly still in discussions and in the squad.”
After that tournament, Wellington said she was at peace with where she stood, but revealed that she could apply for a British passport and had not ruled out looking to play for England.
“It is in the back on my mind but making that decision would be really hard because there are some risks – for instance, it would make me an international player for the Big Bash,” she told ABC Sport. “Technically the door is still open…I just haven’t really explored it that much.”
Flegler said the selectors had been in regular communication with Wellington and that she could continue to push for Australia honours.
“It’s a personal decision for Amanda what she wants to do,” he said. “But we certainly haven’t said she’ll never play for Australia again. Can imagine it’s really frustrating for Amanda. If that’s something she does want to pursue, then that’s up to her.”
Flegler also indicated he was hopeful of Australia arranging some extra fixtures before the T20 World Cup. Currently, after the tour of Bangladesh they have nothing on their calendar until the tournament.