Rebel WBBL|03

Lanning, in-form Aussies eye India tour

National stars dominating Women's Big Bash as superstar skipper looks ahead to a WNCL comeback

Laura Jolly

30 January 2018, 04:05 PM AEST

Australia captain Meg Lanning says she doesn't envy the task facing the national selectors when they sit down next month to decide the ODI and T20I squads for the upcoming tour of India.

Australia are set to take on India, the team that knocked them out of the Women's World Cup in the UK last July, in three ODIs before the sides are joined by England for a T20I tri-series.

The one-dayers will count towards qualification for the next 50-over World Cup, while the T20s are equally – if not more – important with a World T20 looming in the Caribbean this November.

Not only have Australia's contracted players been in fine form throughout WBBL|03, a host of players from outside the most recent Ashes limited-overs squads have been putting forward their names with outstanding displays in the 20-over game.

Patient Perry scores half-century

While Lanning herself hasn't been part of WBBL|03 as she recovers from shoulder surgery, six of the top seven spots on the league run-scoring table are occupied by Australia batters: Ellyse Perry (500 runs at 45.45) leads the way ahead of Elyse Villani (481 at 43.72), Beth Mooney (465 at 42.27), Nicole Bolton (440 at 33.84), Rachael Haynes (425 at 32.69) and Alyssa Healy (378 at 27).

With the ball, Sixers quick Sarah Aley has again proved a regular wicket-taker, sitting third on the overall table with 18 scalps behind international pair Katherine Brunt and Dane van Niekerk, while Strikers leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington has collected 16 wickets.

"I think it's been a very open tournament, I saw a stat the other day that said (six of the top seven) run scorers are Australia players," Lanning said.

"We want the best players doing well in our domestic competitions and we've also seen some young players coming through and taking wickets and scoring runs as well."

Aley leads Sixers to team hat-trick

Outside of the Australian contract list, recent ODI player and Strikers allrounder Tahlia McGrath has made a case for a T20 debut with a strong season for Adelaide, scoring 229 runs and collecting 13 wickets with her medium-pacers.

Uncapped Thunder allrounder Nicola Carey has played a key role in seeing her team through to the WBBL semi-finals, averaging 31.75 with the bat and taking 16 wickets, while Renegades young gun Maitlan Brown picked up 15 wickets at 18.93.

And after missing most of the season while recovering from knee surgery, big-hitting Heat allrounder Grace Harris returned to the competition with a bang, striking 111 runs in four innings and collecting three wickets.

"It's going to be tough to pick the team for India, a lot of people are putting their hands up," Lanning said.

"It's an exciting time and that's the great thing about the WBBL – it provides opportunities for younger players coming through to put their hands up on the big stage."

Lanning, who hopes to return to the Australian squad for the tour of India, also confirmed she remains on track for a comeback on February 16, in the next round of the 50-over Women's National Cricket League.

Victoria will play two matches in Brisbane on February 16 and 17 and while Lanning admitted the decision wasn't entirely in her hands, she is itching to return to the middle.

"I've got a few things to tick off before I do return, but hopefully (it happens) soon," she said.

"The WNCL is what I'm aiming to play, hopefully I can get out there and play again.

"We've got those couple of games left and then we leave for India in early March, so hopefully all goes well and I'll be there.

"(My recovery) is going well, I'm sick of watching cricket and ready to get back out there."