Sophia Dunkley is one of five fresh faces that could be set to take the Australian women by storm (Photo: ESPNCricinfo/Twitter)

The Women’s Ashes begin on Thursday with plenty of fresh faces in the touring England party that captain Heather Knight is excited about seeing perform in Australian conditions

The Women’s Ashes begin on Thursday, with England and Australia with two strong squads named for the multi-format series.

Whilst there’s plenty of familiar faces in both the England and Australian squads, there are plenty of fresh faces, particularly on the touring England side.

Captain Heather Knight said she’s excited to see how the younger ones go and how they cope with the pressures of the Women’s Ashes.

“They’re really excited to know what an Ashes trip is about and to get going with cricket,” Knight said at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday at the pre-series captain’s call.

The Inner Sanctum has taken a look at some of the new faces in the England side who have come out to Australia for their first Ashes tour.

Sophia Dunkley – Batting allrounder

She is one of the brightest all-rounder’s in the cricketing world, with young Sophia Dunkley now looking to prove herself against the best in the world.

Dunkley’s now three years into her international career, and whilst she still hasn’t been a consistent performer, she has shown promise. 

In 29 limited-overs games (21 WT20I and eight WODI) she’s scored 305 runs at an average of 25.4. However, she only bowled four overs back in 2019, taking one wicket in two innings.

Dunkley played the one Womens Test last year against India, becoming the first woman of colour to play test cricket for England. In England’s only innings she scored 74 not out off 127 balls, which included nine fours.

Charlie Dean – Bowling allrounder

The youngest member of the England squad, Dean broke through into the side last summer and continues to rise up as one of England’s brightest prospects

Debuting in September last year as a 20-year-old against New Zealand, Dean played all five ODI matches. She claimed 10 wickets at an average of 19.2 in her opening series at the highest level.

She’s played plenty of domestic cricket, having played 40 One Dayers and 46 T20 games, with One Dayers her strong suit. 

In those 40 games, she’s taken 61 wickets at 20 and has scored 846 runs at 25.6 for Hampshire. She’s also scored 494 runs (19 average) in T20s and taken 44 wickets (17.4 average).

Captain Heather Knight said she was one of the finds of the 2021 English Summer.

“She was a bit of a gamble going into the summer, but the way she took to international cricket was amazing how she did, how she coped with it,” she said on Wednesday.

Despite being young and only coming into international cricket recently, Knight believes she could play a big role here in Australia.

Mady Villiers – Spin Bowler

Another young member of the squad, Villiers has potential and will be looking to show that in her first tour down under.

The 23-year-old has played domestically since 2013 and has plenty of domestic experience. T20 has been her most prominent format, playing 88 matches and taking 59 wickets at an average of 19.8.

She has been in the England T20 side, playing in 17 WT20I’s. In those matches she’s taken 17 wickets at an average of 17.3, conceding only 6.7 runs an over and taking a wicket every 15.2 balls.

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Hasn’t played in any other format, but Villiers has shown she can be a valuable asset for England this series and in years to come.

Maia Bouchier – Middle Order Batter

Young in terms of international experience, but Bouchier has plenty of talent and potential.

The 23-years-old and has been on the domestic scene for a while now, she’s played for Middlesex and most recently for Hampshire. Has played 95 limited-overs games for club and country, with the 50-over format her strongest suit.

In 40 one-dayers for Middlesex, she’s scored 893 runs at an average of 29.8. Bouchier’s also taken 15 wickets at an average of 23.7. However, she’s yet to make her WODI debut yet.

Has played in two WT20I matches, scoring 26 runs in two matches against New Zealand. More recently she’s played for the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL last year, scoring 185 at 23.1.

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Whilst she is a raw talent for England, Knight is excited to see how she goes in Australia this time around.

“She’s a really exciting prospect for us,” Knight said today of the 23-year-old.

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Freya Davies – Pace Bowler

Davies has been on the international scene for a while now and is a touch older than the likes of Villiers, Dunkley, Dean, and Bouchier but will nonetheless look to play a big role down under.

The accurate pace bowler has played domestically for Sussex since 2010 when she was only 14. Her first wicket: England captain at the time Charlotte Edwards.

Davies broke through into the England side in late 2019 and hasn’t looked back

Davies has played 20 limited-overs matches now, taking 20 wickets at an average of 22.7. Her best figures of 4/23 came in March last year against New Zealand in Wellington.

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She didn’t play as big of a role in their last series in the home summer against New Zealand but will form a key part of the seam attack with Tash Farrant, Katherine Brunt, and Anya Shrubsole leading the way.

Tash Farrant – Pace Bowler

With previous international experience under her belt, Tash Farrant faces the biggest test in her international career arriving in Australia for the second time.

Farrant brings plenty of domestic experience to the English side since debuting nearly a decade ago (2012), with her skillset suiting T20 cricket. 

She’s played 103 games in the quickest format and taken 121 wickets at a 17.2 average. Farrant also captained her domestic side South-East Stars to the T20 domestic cup (Charlotte Edwards Trophy) last year.

18 of those T20s have also come in an England shirt since debuting in 2013. Across those T20Is she’s taken 15 wickets at an average of 27.

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Farrant’s played three times against Australia (only one wicket in those games) and could play a much bigger role down under this time around.

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