Elyse Villani named in Australia A squad

Scott Bailey
Elyse Villani has been named in an Australia A squad to play in a series against India

Dropped batter Elyse Villani will be given a chance to push for a Twenty20 World Cup return via an Australia A series against India next month.

Villani was on Friday named in a 13-player squad by Australian selectors, with the three-match series to be played on the Gold Coast just weeks before the World Cup group is announced.

It will mark the veteran's first cricket back in Australian colours since the Ashes, having been overlooked for recent series against West Indies and Sri Lanka.

Heather Graham and Erin Burns have both also been picked, having come into the team at Villani's expense for those T20 and one-day series.

"For some players this tour will give them the opportunity to continue to push their case for national selection, with several having already had a taste of international cricket," Australian selector Shaun Flegler said.

"For others it's an opportunity to continue to develop and gain further experience at this level."

Villani has played 62 T20s for Australia, having hit 1369 runs at an average of 28.52 and an impressive strike-rate of 118.22.

However Ellyse Perry's rise as a batter has squeezed her out of the side in recent times, allowing selectors to opt for the extra allrounder option in Burns and Graham.

Villani has had a mixed Women's Big Bash for the Melbourne Stars, with the 30-year-old having hit three half-centuries for an average of 22.

Meanwhile a number of other players have also forced their way into the T20 and one-day 'A' squads off the back of impressive WBBLs.

Sammy Jo Johnson, Molly Strano, Bridget Patterson and Maitlan Brown are all selected, along with former Aussie bowlers Belinda Vakarewa and Amanda-Jade Wellington.

Annabel Sutherland - the daughter of former Cricket Australia boss James and now a star in her own right - and 16-year-old whiz-kid Phoebe Litchfield will also feature.

"The squads have been selected with a long-term view to the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand in 2021," Flegler said.

"While also rewarding those players who have demanded selection through strong domestic performances."

AUSTRALIA A: Maitlan Brown, Heather Graham, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath (c), Bridget Patterson, Sammy Jo Johnson, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Belinda Vakarewa, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Tahlia Wilson, Erin Burns (T20 only), Josie Dooley (T20), Elyse Villani (T20), Georgia Redmayne (one-dayers only), Rachel Trenaman (one-dayers only).