CommBank Series v India - ODIs
'Watershed moment' looms for Aussie world beaters
Despite a record-breaking run of success, Australia's women's team wants to get even better with three major trophies up for grabs in the next 12 months
21 September 2021, 08:15 AM AEST
Having taken a step back re-assess the team's core values for the first time since their devastating exit from the 2017 World Cup, Australia coach Matthew Mott believes the next year looms as a "watershed moment" for his all-conquering side as they target a slew of major trophies.
Speaking to The Scoop podcast before the multi-format series against India, beginning on Tuesday, Mott revealed the team had recently taken stock and spoken at length about what they stand for ahead of what will be their first international campaign in more than six months.
With an Ashes defence, the ODI World Cup and the Commonwealth Games all on the horizon, and with memories of their premature 2017 World Cup exit still in the back of their minds, the team is determined to get even better.
This is despite their unprecedented recent success, which has seen them win a world record 24 ODIs in a row and not drop a series in any format since 2017.
"The last time we properly did that was after the 2017 World Cup, that set the benchmark," Mott said, referring to the team's era-defining discussion after that tournament, which set them on a four-year path of world domination.
"Over time we've reviewed (our values) and they haven't changed a lot.
"But this one review, given the big break (from playing), this has been the biggest change.
"One of the words that came out was 'evolve'. And the team were really strong on that need to evolve.
"We're mindful we've had some success in the last couple of years, but part of that mantra is trying to get better every day, and that's driving the group."
The Australian squad came together for the first time in six months last week after several planned camps were cancelled through the winter due to border closures.
However, the group met on Zoom throughout that downtime to reflect on what they stood for, and where they felt they could improve.
Most pleasingly for Mott, much of the discussion around the team's values was led by their younger players.
"That was the exciting thing, it wasn't the senior players driving that," Mott said.
"Looking at our values now, which are (still) 'fearless' and the 'team first' but now the next evolution is for everyone to try and get better every day.
"This team just feels like they're free to be themselves and express themselves however they want to do it.
"When I look at our players interviewed or mingling with fans, there's a genuine love of what they're doing.
"I think it resonates with the public that there's big smiles on faces, even in tight contests."
Australia are missing two key bowlers in Megan Schutt (personal leave) and Jess Jonassen (injury) for this series, while quick Tayla Vlaeminck will not be in contention to play until the T20 portion of the series as she looks to overcome pre-season niggles.
Another pace bowler, Nicola Carey, has been under an injury cloud due to an abdominal strain.
Those absences, combined with a tight schedule, means Australia are in the unusual position of needing to rotate their attack, with uncapped bowlers Stella Campbell, Maitlan Brown and Hannah Darlington set to be used throughout the series.
Opportunities could also come for Tahlia McGrath, who has been part of Australia's last three tours but only played one match, and Annabel Sutherland, who made her international debut last year before missing March's tour of New Zealand due to injury.
The relatively inexperienced pace attack will face significant pressure against India's strong top-order, but Mott believes they will benefit in the long run.
"It's a big year for someone like Tahlia McGrath who has been on the fringes for a while and will benefit from Megan Schutt not playing, and Jess Jonassen, who would traditionally take up a lot of our pressure overs," he said.
"We haven't had this sort of turnover for a while, we've been a reasonably settled unit for some time but the general outlook is this is incredibly positive.
"We've been backed into a corner and had to play some of our young players.
"With a big 18 months of cricket with Ashes, World Cups and Commonwealth Games, this almost looms as a watershed moment for our team."
CommBank Series v India
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
India Test and ODI squad: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht.
India T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh (wk), Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh.
Sep 30 – Oct 3: Test match, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast (D/N)