The England ‘A’ team flew home yesterday, after a chastening series against Australia ‘A’ – Australia winning 5 of the 6 matches played between the two sides, with the other game a wash-out. Only one match – the first T20 – could really be described as ‘close’.
However, 4 players from the ‘A’ team impressed enough with their performances to stay in Australia pending the announcement of England’s World Cup squad, which is expected on 9 February – next Wednesday.
Lauren Bell, Georgia Elwiss, Eve Jones and Emma Lamb will be available to be selected as one of the 18 players (15 squad players plus up to 3 reserves – see here for a quick explainer of how that works) travelling to the World Cup in New Zealand immediately after the Ashes.
There are cases for all four to be included in the 18. Having Elwiss – a classic “utility player” – as one of the travelling reserves would make a lot of sense. However, it feels likely that the others have been retained in case anyone gets injured in the final two ODIs, so their various fan-clubs should probably keep the champagne on ice for the moment.