New learning curve to aid captain Lanning
Meg Lanning joined Aussie teammates Elyse Villani and Rachael Haynes in the classroom this week - and her team could reap the benefits
21 June 2018, 09:27 AM AEST
Australia captain Meg Lanning has added a new string to her bow – but it’s got nothing to do with the way she wields the willow.
Lanning, alongside national teammates Rachael Haynes and Elyse Villani, has taken a brief hiatus from the rigours of pre-season training to develop a different skill: her coaching ability.
The trio are undertaking a High Performance Level 3 coaching course at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre alongside the likes of recently appointed Western Australia and Scorchers coach Adam Voges, as well as WA contracted player Kath Hempenstall and former Australia player Michelle Goszko.
At just 26, post-retirement career options aren’t exactly at the forefront of Lanning’s mind, but she does hope it will make her a more well-rounded captain.
“We saw it as a good chance to develop our understanding of the game and see it from a different perspective,” Lanning told cricket.com.au.
“It’s going to be a good learning curve for me, just for me to think about the game in a different way, how to get the best out of players and the environment you’re in and learn a few new things.”
L3 High Performance Candidates took the reins at @BupaAustralia National Cricket Centre today and coached the male National Performance Squad. pic.twitter.com/1TM0oNULP2— CricketAusCoaching (@cricketaus_cca) June 18, 2018
That leadership, fresh ideas and new perspective could be crucial as Australia head into what’s looming as the busiest period ever for the national women’s team.
Between the end of September this year and March 2020, Australia will compete in two World T20s, an away Ashes, as well as bilateral series against New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies and Sri Lanka.
“It’s something I’ve spoken to (head coach) Matthew Mott about a fair bit, and he’s been very encouraging,” Lanning said.
“It does give you a different perspective on things and makes you think about things differently.
“It’s also a chance to extend yourself.
“I’m not sure (about coaching post retirement) to be honest, but part of doing the course is getting a feel for whether I do really enjoy it or not, and gives me a base to keep improving on while I’m playing.”
Congratulations to the 20 coaches who attended the Level 3 High Performance Program at the @BupaAustralia National Cricket Centre these past 10 days. pic.twitter.com/pzqUKfjBta— CricketAusCoaching (@cricketaus_cca) June 20, 2018
Should Lanning eventually decide coaching is for her, she would be joining a growing number of elite female coaches in Australian cricket, with more players being encouraged to gain experience, skills and accreditation while playing.
Among those currently highlighting the pathway from playing to elite coaching is Australia vice-captain Alex Blackwell, who retired in February and has already landed a coaching role in England’s T20 Super League, where she’ll mentor Lancashire Thunder through July and August.
Closer to home, former Australian batter Leah Poulton is heading up Cricket Australia’s elite female program, while legendary allrounder Shelley Nitschke was recently appointed assistant Southern Stars coach under Mott.
Another former Australia representative, Joanne Broadbent, is also in the country’s elite coaching ranks, in charge of both the Lendlease NSW Breakers and Sydney Thunder’s WBBL side, as is Lisa Keightley (Western Fury and Perth Scorchers) and Andrea McCauley (South Australia, Adelaide Strikers).
Former England Academy coach Salliann Briggs has been lured across from the United Kingdom and placed in charge of leading both Tasmania and Hobart as they look to turn around disappointing 2017-18 campaigns.
Overall, four female coaches head up eight domestic teams across the WNCL and Rebel WBBL, while five male coaches oversee seven sides across the two competitions.
For Lanning, those are positive signs for the future.
“It’s a space that’s evolved over the last three or four years,” she said. “We’ve got Shelley Nitschke as part of our Australian set up and Leah Poulton is heading up the NPS program as well.
“I think there are processes in place now, so if you do want to get involved as a current player (who is considering) coaching down the track, you can start that journey while you’re playing.
“There’s definitely some really good knowledge being shared from past players at the moment, and the current players as well, in terms of coaching the next generation.
“So hopefully we can use that (knowledge) as much as we can.”