Sport Cricket The woman who’ll inflict more Ashes pain on England

The woman who’ll inflict more Ashes pain on England

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Ill-informed doubters of women’s cricket clearly haven’t seen Meg Lanning bat.

Sublime and in a hurry best sums her up.

In the past year she’s treated the record books with the same disdain she shows a wide ball outside off — the fastest 50 and century in an ODI by an Australian woman, the highest individual score in a WNCL match (175 for VicSpirit) and the highest individual score at club level (241 off 136 balls for Box Hill). 

“I think playing in an attacking way is helpful, it means something is always likely to happen. I still have a lot of improvement to do and my consistency needs to improve so still a lot to work on,” Lanning says.

We don’t fear anyone in the England team.

In recognition of her rise to the top of the women’s game, the VicSpirit and Southern Stars top order batter has been appointed vice-captain of the national team in both forms of the game.

“It’s a huge honour to be named vice-captain, especially leading into such an important and exciting series. It’s something that I’m really looking forward to,” she says.

“It’s something I had given a little bit of thought to. I wasn’t sure if or when I would get an opportunity but it’s a great chance to learn from those around me.”

The follow-up Ashes series this month will use the same format first tried in England this year with points awarded for the one Test, three one-dayers and three Twenty20 internationals. Six points are on offer for the Test while the limited-over games bring two points for a win. The Ashes go to the overall winner.

“We don’t fear anyone in the England team,” Lanning says.

“We know that they have some very dangerous players with bat and ball. Katherine Brunt will lead their bowling attack so we will need to play her well. Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor are the keys to their batting line up so we will need to ensure we have good plans and execute them well. Overall they have a really even team so it will be important for us to play well for long periods.” 

Meg Lanning (right) in action for Australia during the Ashes Test in England in August, 2013.
Meg Lanning (right) in action for Australia during the Ashes Test in England in August, 2013.

England captain Charlotte Edwards is the most experienced player in the women’s game.

“Playing Australia in Australia is a huge series for us — especially with all the history that surrounds the Ashes.  Also, to get to play at world-famous grounds like the WACA and the MCG makes this tour even more exciting,” she says.

“We are confident that we can win the Ashes, but we are very aware that we are going to have be at our very best to do this.  We hold the Ashes and won the last series on merit, but we are not complacent.  We respect the Australian team, and expect this series to be very closely contested.”

As to observations made on the 5-nil whitewash: “The key thing that I have taken from the men’s performance is how quickly things can change. Also the aggression and passion they have played with has been great to watch, it’s certainly something we’ve looked at,” Lanning says.

Edwards is more matter-of-fact about what she’s learned watching Alastair Cook’s men implode.

“The need to execute your skills consistently throughout the duration of every match, along with the need to identify key moments and respond to them.”

In an ominous sign, Lanning says she hasn’t been performing as well as she’d like this summer.

“I have been getting a lot of starts but not going on to big scores so that’s something I am really keen to change during the Ashes.”

You get the feeling more pain could be headed England’s way.

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