Ashes disappointment still driving Villani
Scorchers skipper determined to lead from the front and prove a point at the business end of the WBBL|03 season
25 January 2018, 08:54 AM AEST
Australia and Perth Scorchers batter Elyse Villani admits she still “hasn’t parked” her poor Ashes campaign completely as she looks to make a statement in the final stages of the Rebel WBBL season.
Batting in the middle order throughout the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes, Villani scored 95 runs at 13.57 in seven matches across the three formats, with a high score of 38 in the opening ODI in Brisbane.
But it’s been a different story since the 28-year-old donned the Scorchers orange for WBBL|03. After 12 matches, Villani sits second on the league runs table with 453 at 50.33, second only to Sixers skipper Ellyse Perry.
Batting at the top of the order alongside fellow Australia star Nicole Bolton, she’s passed fifty on five occasions including a top score of 84no, with those runs coming at the impressive strike rate of 136.85.
"A quiet Ashes is a bit of an understatement," Villani told cricket.com.au. "I was really disappointed on a personal level and I still probably haven’t parked that completely.
"I was really disappointed with my own performances; it’s never nice to be part of a team and feel like you aren’t contributing.
"That’s motivation in this WBBL to make sure I’m scoring runs and playing my brand of cricket."
Last weekend she took apart the Hurricanes’ bowling attack on her way to an unbeaten 70 – exactly the sort of performance she is determined to consistently produce as Scorchers captain.
"Batting well was really important for me, having the Scorchers captaincy for the first time," she explained.
"I wanted to really lead from the front, it’s something Meg Lanning speaks about at an Australian level and I had that in the back of my mind.
"I had a decent season last year and I really wanted to back that up, I didn’t want to take the captaincy and have people think it was to the detriment of my own game.
"So from a personal point of view that was a real factor coming into this season."
Villani’s form is also a timely reminder to national selectors, who will be sitting down shortly after the conclusion of the WBBL season to choose their squad for the upcoming ODI and T20 tour of India, which begins in early March.
She’s choosing not to look that far ahead, but is well aware strong performances for the Scorchers in their remaining matches could pay off with more than just Big Bash success.
"To be part of any tour with Australia is an incredible honour and it’s not something I take lightly," she said.
"But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, or for the team to get ahead of themselves."
Australian-contracted players occupy five of the top six places on the WBBL|03 runs table, in positive signs ahead of a crucial year in the 20-over format that culminates in November’s World T20 in the Caribbean.
Perry leads the way with 477 runs at 53, followed by Villani, Beth Mooney (438 at 48.66), Bolton (407 at 37), New Zealand’s Suzie Bates (399 at 36.27) and Rachael Haynes (376 at 34.18).