ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
World Cup legacy will live on: Mott
The world has changed dramatically just a fortnight after Meg Lanning lifted the trophy in front of a record crowd at the MCG
24 March 2020, 07:31 PM AEST
The legacy of Australia’s historic T20 World Cup win at the MCG on March 8 will live on despite rapidly being overshadowed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, coach Matthew Mott believes.
Meg Lanning lifted the trophy in front of 86,174 fans just over a fortnight ago.
It was a record attendance for a standalone women’s sporting event in Australia, and remarkably, came just days before the escalating health crisis saw crowds of more than 500 banned, while Australia’s limited-overs tour of South Africa was one of many international sporting events postponed.
"I think we’re all shocked and it’s a little bit surreal at times," Mott told journalists via a teleconference on Tuesday.
"From a community perspective we’re feeling for a lot of people who are a lot less fortunate than us.
"We were incredibly lucky. We thought we were lucky getting through the semi-final with the weather the way it was.
"Looking back, we were three or four days away from missing (the final in front of a record crowd) and it would have been incredibly disappointing with the amount of work that went in behind the scenes to basically fill the MCG, the game it turned out to be, and the celebration of women’s cricket.
"We feel very fortunate, we were incredibly lucky to get through that and it could have been so different if it as a week later.
"Hopefully for a lot of people it’s a lasting memory of live sport for a little while."
Australia’s next international series is not scheduled until October, with contracted players now preparing to enter a six-week leave period.
The current uncertainty means their off-season activities will be up in the air – with travel to the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Queensland for camps not possible for the foreseeable future – while it remains to be seen whether England’s new Hundred competition, which Mott and a host of Australian players are contracted for, will go ahead as planned.
It is not the perfect lead in to their next major tournament, the 2021 one-day World Cup in New Zealand due to begin next February, but Mott knows both he and Australian cricket are in fortunate positions compared to many other sports worldwide.
"We’ve missed the tour of South Africa but for our team, we’ve got a big off-season ahead and that will have to be very flexible and fluid," he said.
"I do feel for some of the other sports who are in the midst of starting their seasons and from a cricket perspective, we have been very fortunate.
"We had one-on-one meetings with every player last week and we feel really connected despite the isolation we’re in."
For now, Mott is reflecting on what was achieved by the T20 World Cup, which saw attendance records broken at each venue Australia played at, before Lanning’s team romped to their fifth T20 World Cup title in 10 years when they thrashed India by 85 runs in the final.
"I think the legacy will live on," he said.
"I got a call from Andrew Symonds the other day and he said he was just so proud of the team, the images of the players celebrating and dancing with Katy Perry, they will last in the memories of anyone who watched the event for many years to come.
"So I don’t think it’ll be lost, in the short-term there’s more important things in the eyeline and community health is a huge part of that.
"But I do think the images and the way we played, the adversity we came up against – the players have become heroes for a whole new audience and it’s a male audience as well as female.
"The young boys and girls who will be inspired by that event, I’ve already had so much feedback about that.
"I was playing backyard cricket with my son the other day and he did a little skip and hop as he came into bowl and he said he was Schutter (Megan Schutt).
"For me, that’s magic. It gave me goosebumps at the time and it shows we’re not just inspiring young girls, we’re inspiring young boys as well and the next generation will be so much better for that experience we went through."