Meg Lanning has achieved plenty in her career so far but over the next couple of months, captaining Australia to a Women’s World Cup title is foremost on her list of goals. Australia have a remarkable record at the Women’s World Cup, having won six of the 10 tournaments (England have won three and New Zealand one), but this is Lanning’s first World Cup as skipper.
Jodie Fields led Australia to triumph in the 2013 final against West Indies, and Lanning is one of seven players from this year’s World Cup squad who was also part of the previous winning squad. The Australians are this week training on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in preparation for heading to England for the tournament, and Lanning’s players will this week spend some time with Australia’s previous World Cup winners.
“It’s a great chance to learn from those players who have been there and done it before, and probably under some difficult circumstances at times,” Lanning said. “It definitely wasn’t anywhere near professional when we were winning those World Cups a while ago. We’re very excited as a group to be able to meet the players who have been successful in the past, because World Cups are very special and different to what we’re used to.
“Our team has been very successful over a long period of time. We’re looking forward to forging our own way as a team, and trying to deliver as best we can. We know it’s going to be really tough. We know it’s going to be a very open tournament. But we’re all excited about the opportunity and looking forward to making the most of the last couple of weeks in Australia and then getting over to England and preparing as well as we can.”
Australia’s squad this year features several players new to international cricket, including Ashleigh Gardner and Amanda-Jade Wellington, both of whom have made their debuts over the past few months. Teenage fast bowler Belinda Vakarewa is in line for her international debut at the World Cup, and Lanning said she was an exciting talent.
“She’s coming out of her shell a little bit,” Lanning said. “She was pretty quiet early on, but she mainly let her actions do the talking in the first [practice] game. She was really enthusiastic, she really impressed us with her attitude towards the team. She’s come in really nicely and she’s improving all the time. She’s still very young, but we’re really excited about what she can bring to the team through this World Cup and into the future as well.
“I think that’s really exciting for the group, to be able to bring in some younger players who bring different skill sets and really add to the group. That’s the really good thing about our side, is we’ve been able to evolve over the last couple of years and we feel like we’ve got a lot of bases covered in terms of different skill sets.” (ESPNCricinfo)