England name rookie Davies in women~~s Ashes squad

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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London: Welsh all-rounder Stephanie Davies has been named in the England squad to defend the women's Ashes in Australia.

It is the 20-year-old's first senior call-up and coach Mark Dobson said she would be a 'great asset' to the squad.

Rosalie Birch has been recalled, but injured Katherine Brunt and Lynsey Askew miss next February's series.

England will play a Twenty20 game, five one-dayers and a Test in Australia before heading to New Zealand for the second leg of their trip.

"This squad is a great blend of youth and experience, with nine from the victorious 2005 Ashes team travelling to Australia.

"This demonstrates continuity in selection, which is excellent preparation as we look ahead to the World Cup in 2009," captain Charlotte Edwards commented.

England won the women's Ashes for the first time in 42 years when they beat Australia 1-0 in a two-Test series in 2005.

And they only need to avoid defeat in the one-off Test at Bowral from 15-18 February to retain them.

In the absence of seam bowlers Brunt (back) and Askew (finger), coach Mark Dobson believes newcomer Davies, who plays county cricket for Somerset, can take some of the pressure off vice-captain Nicki Shaw, Laura Marsh, Isa Guha and Beth Morgan.

It will not be her first trip to Australia as she toured there as a 15-year-old with the England U-19 side in 2002-03.

"She has been performing consistently in the LV County Championships and Super 4s for the past few seasons as well as for the England Development side.

"She offers us additional depth in our batting and bowling departments and it'll be a great opportunity for her to show what she can do at the next level," he said.

Birch, meanwhile, will provide spin bowling back-up to Sussex team-mate Holly Colvin, who is only available for the Australia leg of the tour because of academic commitments.

Colvin will be replaced by another Sussex player, Charlotte Russell, for the tour to New Zealand, where England will play five limited overs internationals.

Squad: Charlotte Edwards (capt), Caroline Atkins, Rosalie Birch, Holly Colvin (only for Australia tour), Stephanie Davies, Lydia Greenway, Isa Guha, Jenny Gunn, Laura Marsh, Beth Morgan, Charlotte Russell (for New Zealand one-dayers), Nicki Shaw, Jane Smit, Clarie Taylor and Sarah Taylor (wk).


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