England announced their Ashes squads today. Selection is a tricky business in women's cricket these days because the trophy in this case now covers all three forms of the game.
The winner of the trophy – it is not an urn, of which there is only one genuine article – will be decided across one Test match, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s to be played across the rest of August.
The solitary Test will be at Wormsley, in Berkshire, starting on Sunday. A total of 17 players have been picked for the matches, with 11 appearing in all three squads.
Charlotte Edwards, the veteran opening bat, will lead the side in all formats. Her form and that of the prodigious wicketkeeper-batswoman Sarah Taylor may be key to England regaining the Ashes.
England lost them in Bankstown, Sydney, in 2011 in the course of a single Test which Australia won by seven wickets, despite Edwards' fourth Test hundred, when she scored 114 from her side's first innings of 207.
The change was made because women's cricket is based largely on limited-overs versions of the game. But the Test match is still worth its weight. Six points will be allocated to the winners of the match, with two each available for the limited-overs games.
There is a blend of youth and experience. Seven of the Test squad appeared in the Bankstown match, but Lauren Winfield of Yorkshire and Natalie Sciver of Surrey, who made their international debuts against Pakistan only last month, are both in the Test party.
All matches will be broadcast on BBC Radio and the three T20s will be shown on Sky, with the second and third being curtain-raisers for the men's matches at Southampton and Durham, an experiment which has worked well in the past and now should become the convention.
Clare Connor, the former England captain who is now head of women's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: "Facing Australia is the ultimate test for every player. The inaugural multi-format Women's Ashes is unprecedented in terms of establishing a winning team across all three formats." Hopefully, it will be reflected in the support.
Aussie challenge: England squads
C Edwards (Kent; capt), T Beaumont (Kent), A Brindle (Sussex), K Brunt (Yorkshire), L Greenway (Kent), J Gunn (Nottinghamshire), D Hazell (Yorkshire), H Knight (Berkshire), L Marsh (Kent), N Sciver (Surrey), A Shrubsole (Somerset), S Taylor (Sussex), L Winfield (Yorkshire), D Wyatt (Nottinghamshire).
As Test squad but H Colvin (Sussex) and G Elwiss (Sussex) replace Sciver and Wyatt.
As Test squad but H Colvin (Sussex) and N Farrant (Kent) replace Knight and Winfield.
Fixtures 11 Aug Test (Wormsley) 20 Aug First One-Day International (Lord's) 23 Aug Second One-Day International (Hove) 25 Aug Third One-Day International (Hove) 27 Aug First Twenty20 international (Chelmsford) 29 Aug Second T20 international (Southampton) 31 Aug Third T20 international (Chester-le-Street)