Phoebe Litchfield, Kim Garth and Heather Graham have earned their first Cricket Australia central contracts as a part of the newly expanded list. Out of the 18 contracts available under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last week, the selectors have chosen to utilize 17. There has also been a significant increase in the value of the contracts.
New South Wales opener Litchfield, debuted in International Cricket in T20Is against India and subsequently also impressed in the ODI series against Pakistan. Kim Garth, a former Ireland all rounder made her debut against India and Heather Graham came into the fold in 2022.
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Justifying their decision, National Selector Shawn Flegler said, “Kim Garth and Heather Graham have performed strongly at domestic level over the past 12 months, and both thoroughly deserve their spot on the list.”
Speaking on the wealth of talent available currently and the difficulty faced by them in choosing from the wide pool of talented cricketers, he said, “We’ve had a core group of players performing well over the last 12 months which means some talented players have missed out, it’s certainly made selection tough but we’re in a fortunate position to have such depth across Australian Cricket.”
“Importantly, there is still the opportunity for players not offered contracts to earn upgrades through consistent performances, as we saw with Grace last year,” he said urging the others not to lose hope and keep working hard.
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Pacer Tayla Vlaeminck will make her comeback from a long term injury suffered during Australia A’s tour of England in June. Grace Harris has also been included in the list after she was upgraded to a contract in the previous cycle.
Allrounder Nicola Carey wanted to focus on her pre-season with Tasmania and hence declined the contract offered by the board. “Nicola expressed a desire to spend the winter in Tasmania to allow her to utilise a full preseason at home, focusing on using that time to develop skills in her game to push for international selection in the future,” Flegler said.
Nationally contracted women’s players: Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jessica Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.