Australian women’s cricket team captain Meg Lanning feels the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) has provided the side solid experience for the ICC Women’s World Cup, and hopes those learnings will help them reclaim the trophy when the tournament gets under way in New Zealand on March 4.
England are the defending champions and Lanning, who will be leading the No.1 side in the format, feels they have re-calibrated their “approach” and will play the tournament willing “to take a few more risks”.
“There’s no doubt that the 50-over World Cup has been on the radar for a little while, it comes around pretty rarely compared to T20 World Cups so we’re looking forward to the opportunity to go and compete. It’s a pure World Cup in the sense that you play everybody throughout the tournament, and once you get to the end, if you can finish on top it’s a pretty amazing effort. We’re all really excited about the chance to play in a one-day World Cup and obviously we’re going there to win but it’s going to be a pretty tough tournament to play,” said Lanning in her column for ICC on Monday.
She said several of her teammates in the side were also part of the 2017 campaign and were keen to change the script this time around.
“A lot of our players were involved in that 2017 World Cup, which didn’t quite end the way we would have liked and I think since then we’ve changed the way we approach and play our cricket and are a lot more positive and willing to take a few more risks and I think that suited our game style,” added the 29-year-old Lanning, a veteran of 91 WODIs, having scored more than 4,000 runs.
She said that not having the trophy in “our hands” hurts but being the No.1 side, the team is high on confidence. Australia Women also recently thrashed England in the multi-format Ashes and the moral of the side is high following the 12-4 scoreline.
“It is the trophy that we don’t have our hands on at the moment and we’re all very keen to try and change that. Being the No.1 ranked team, we go in there with a lot of confidence, but World Cups are extremely difficult to win. There’s a lot of cricket to be played and then you need to play pretty consistently across a long period of time, which is a big challenge and there are a number of world class teams out there, who are playing really good cricket.
“It’s really exciting for the young players in the squad to only know life as full-time professional cricketers and it’s great for them to have the opportunity to really try and get the best out of themselves,” opined Lanning.
She added the WBBL had provided a great opportunity to the youngsters in the side to play top-notch cricket with the best in the world.
“The Women’s Big Bash League in particular has provided a really nice platform for younger players to be exposed to different scenarios and pressure situations. We’ve seen with our young kids coming in, Darcie Brown, Tahlia McGrath and others, they don’t look overawed by the situation, which I think the WBBL has played a really big role in that. It is a strong domestic competition, and alongside the Women’s National Cricket League, it provides a great opportunity for players to get game time and learn the game, there’s no doubt that that certainly helps our national team to be able to perform as we do.”
She was also all praise for India cricketers who broke their 26 WODI winning streak when the Mithali Raj-led team toured last year for a multi-format series, which also included a one-off pink-ball Test.
“We want to win every game that we play, and we were very proud to reach 26 ODIs unbeaten before losing to India, but it’s probably not realistic in these times with so many good teams out there to win absolutely every game but it’s a good challenge for us.
“It wasn’t a surprise to us that India played so well because they’re such a great team, if anything it reinforces the fact that we need to play our best cricket and we need to make sure we’re trying to push the game forward to make sure we stay ahead,” added Lanning.