Meg Lanning is a young captain of the Australian team that has won 15 of the 20 ICC Women’s World T20 matches. Australia lifted the trophy in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and is looking to make it four in a row. In an interaction with Sportstar , Meg talks about captaincy, preparation for the ongoing competition and everything cricket. Excerpts:
What does it mean to be the captain of the Australian team?
As a captain and a player, you’re learning all the time. Every match presents you with a different situation which you need to sit back and learn as much as possible from. Taking over the role as captain has been a very enjoyable experience. I have been able to talk to a number of people about captaincy, which has been fantastic. The team has supported me really well. It has been good so far and I am looking forward to this World Cup and beyond.
Has the preparation been spin-focused?
We have certainly done a lot of work on playing spin as a batting group and also how effective we can be with the ball. The centre-wicket practices have been about a number of things including match practice. There’s no doubt spin is going to play a big part in this World Cup. We have thought about it a lot and I’m sure we will be ready to play it well with the bat and also use the talent we have got with the ball as well.
Is one warm-up match good enough?
I think we have prepared as well as we possibly could. We have had enough time to acclimatise. I have no worries about heading into tomorrow’s game with just one practice game. Everyone had time to spend in the middle and bowl a few good overs as well.
Strategy to tackle spin…
I think every player plays spin differently. It’s about trying to stick to your strengths, I guess. It’s all about trying to play as late as you can with the spin and just put the bad balls away. Each team will have a plan, we have got ours and I have got mine. In some places it will spin more than others, so we have just got to adapt quickly.
In all, 11 countries play women’s T20. Is there any scope for spreading the game to other countries?
There’s no doubt that the women’s game has grown a lot over the last couple of years. I am sure there is scope for other teams to play in the World Cup. I think, at the moment, ten is very good. Most of the teams in this World Cup are competitive. Other than that, moving forward, I am not sure. The ICC will look into that and come up with the best strategy.
Views on Test cricket…
We would love to play more Test cricket; we play one every couple of years against England. I am sure different countries are looking at that (playing Test match cricket). We would love to play more if we could, but that’s up to the other countries and the ICC to decide the best schedule and way to take the game forward.
Was Women’s Big Bash League an ideal preparation ground for the World Cup?
I thought the WBBL was a great tournament to be a part of. The interest from international cricketers was a sign of how far women’s cricket has come. We were exposed to high pressure situations; playing a lot of games in a row was good practice for tournaments like these. It has been great for the girls in the Australian team to be exposed to all these things.
Any more secrets left to be shared with others after playing the WBBL?
You cannot get away with much anymore. Every game is getting filmed and coded and every team knows secrets about the others. That makes it a challenge to combat the plans that other teams come up with. It’s a different experience to play with people you play against. It’s different coming up against them on the field when you know them off the field. But it’s a different experience.
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