Selector Shawn Flegler says there’s a path back to the Australian team for leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, whose slide down the national pecking order was confirmed today by her axing from Cricket Australia’s list of contracted players.

Wellington burst onto the international scene in late 2016 when she took a wicket with her first delivery in international cricket, but she was dropped last September in favour of teenager Georgia Wareham, who was today handed a senior contract for the first time.

Wareham’s all-round athleticism and her variations with the ball have been cited as the reasons for her rapid rise and Flegler says Wellington knows what she needs to do to return to the highest level.

And he says the inclusion of three leg-spinners in the women’s National Performance Squad - Wellington, Victoria’s Alana King and 17-year-old Rachel Trenaman - is a nod to the importance placed on the craft in Australia.

“Obviously Amanda’s missed out on a contract this year, but we still think she’s highly skillful and Alana (King) is in the same boat,” he said.

“Both are highly skilled leg-spinners, but they need to develop other parts of their game.

“(King) played against England (for the CA XI) last time they came out and she’s had a good season.

“We’ve been really clear with all the players around fielding and fitness, so for her and Wellington, that’s an area they need to improve.

“We think leg-spin is a big part of our game and it’s been successful in our style of cricket, so we want to keep encouraging that.”

The NPS contracted players will spend two stints at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre this year, working with high performance coaches and training alongside Australian contracted players as they prepare for their Ashes tour of the UK.

The squad is a mix of players who have already played international cricket – Wellington is joined by quicks Lauren Cheatle, Tahlia McGrath, Belinda Vakarewa and Tayla Vlaeminck – alongside up-and-comers like high school students Trenaman and Annabel Sutherland, who will juggle their year 12 studies with NPS duties.

“Some of the players in the NPS squad will go on the Australia A tour (to the UK in July), and we want to develop them for that tour and have them ready for the senior team if opportunities come up,” Flegler said.

“But there’s also an eye to the future with some of the others.

“Having the Australian girls around (in Brisbane) is a real benefit too, as they’ll get to train with the very best.”

Four wicketkeepers have also been included in the squad; Queensland’s Josie Dooley, Victoria’s Nicole Faltum and NSW pair Maddy Darke and Tahlia Wilson. Wicketkeeper-batters Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney are currently entrenched in the Australian side, but Flegler says selectors are already looking to the next generation.

“We’ve got a few wicketkeepers coming through, we certainly look at the skill gaps that we need to fill (not only) in the short term, but in the medium term and long term,” he said.

“There’s a good group of wicketkeepers coming through in that age group, so this is a good chance for them to train together and see how they develop over the next few years.

“Midge (Healy) has played really well and Beth has been around the side for a few years now … but we always need to think about (the future) and what happens if Midge and Beth both broke a finger, and we also need to plan for three or five years away as well.”

2019 Women's National Performance Squad: Maitlan Brown (ACT/Renegades, 21), Lauren Cheatle (NSW/Sixers, 20), Maddy Darke (NSW, 18), Josie Dooley (Qld/Heat, 19), Nicole Faltum (Vic/Stars, 19), Heather Graham (WA/Scorchers, 22), Alana King (Vic/Stars, 23), Tahlia McGrath (SA/Strikers, 23), Annabel Sutherland (Vic/Stars, 17)*, Rachel Trenaman (NSW/Thunder, 17)*, Belinda Vakarewa (NSW/Thunder, 21), Tayla Vlaeminck (Vic/Renegades, 20), Amanda-Jade Wellington (SA/Strikers, 21), Tahlia Wilson (NSW/Sixers, 19)

*Denotes part-time scholars.