MELBOURNE: Leg-spinner Georgia Wareham was the surprise inclusion in Australia's squad for the Women's World Cup in South Africa next month.
Wareham has not played a T20 match since rupturing her ACL in October 2021. Australia are the defending champions for the tournament beginning in South Africa on February 10. The team will also play three games against Pakistan before the ICC event.
Captain Meg Lanning will expectedly lead the side after announcing her comeback following a six-month break from the game.
There are two changes to the Australia squad that featured in the 4-1 series win in India last month with Lanning and Wareham replacing Phoebe Litchfield and Nicola Carey. Wareham is another leggie in the side alongside Alana King.
Alyssa Healy, who suffered a calf strain on the India tour, is expected to regain full fitness in time for the World Cup.
''It's always tough to narrow a squad down to just 15 players, but we're confident we've picked a well-balanced side that's well placed for the series against Pakistan and ready to challenge for a third consecutive T20 title,'' National Selector Shawn Flegler said in a statement.
''(Meg and Georgia) bring a wealth of experience to the group, which is always crucial during major tournaments … Georgia in particular, has had a tough run of injuries, but she's shown a great deal of resilience and her return is a real boost for the side.
''Alyssa and Jess are expected to be fully fit and firing after minor injuries as well, so we've got a full-strength squad with plenty of variety with both bat and ball if required,'' Flegler said.
Australia's T20 World Cup squad: Meg Lanning (c), Alyssa Healy (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.