Key duo depart as Victoria name star-studded squad
Victoria sign Samantha Bates from Tasmania but lose Elyse Villani and Molly Strano as part of their 20-player squad for the 2021-22 season
10 May 2021, 02:13 PM AEST
Victoria have confirmed the departures of star players Elyse Villani and Molly Strano for the 2021-22 season, with the pair expected to head south and join Tasmania.
The Vics unveiled their 20-player women's contract list on Monday, with the exits of Villani and Strano – the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker respectively in the 2021 WNCL – the notable omissions.
Cricket.com.au has confirmed reports the pair are set to sign with Tasmania.
Spinner Samantha Bates has made the move the other way, joining the Vics from the Tigers, while teenage off-spinner Ella Hayward has also earned her first contract.
Bhavi Devchand, Elly Donald, Zoe Griffiths and Courtney Neale have all been delisted.
Villani, who has been capped more than 100 times for Australia, produced a record-breaking WNCL season with the bat to send a reminder to national selectors ahead of next year's World Cup.
The right-hander, who hasn't played international cricket in more than two years, scored three hundreds and two fifties in her nine innings during the WNCL, finishing the tournament with an average of 87.
Strano departs the Vics after almost a decade in Melbourne and following a standout WNCL season that included 14 wickets at an average of 14.
Despite losing the talented duo, the Vics have six Cricket Australia contracted players in their squad, including star duo Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry.
The 2021-22 schedule has yet to be announced, but it's unlikely Australia’s leading players will be available for much of the WNCL season due to international commitments against England and India ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand.
"Elyse and Molly have both been fantastic teammates and role models in our squad. While we're disappointed they won't be in navy blue next season, we understand and respect their decision," said Cricket Victoria’s General Manager of Cricket, Shaun Graf.
"We're excited to welcome Samantha Bates who is an accomplished spin bowler alongside some talented young players.
"Having a larger number of Australian contracts has allowed us to give more opportunities to players coming through the Women's Premier Cricket pathway. We're looking forward to seeing those players join the program and helping them develop over the year ahead."
2021-22 Victoria Women's Contract list
In: Samantha Bates, Tiana Atkinson, Ella Hayward, Rhys McKenna, Rhiann O’Donnell, Lara Shannon
Out: Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Bhavi Devchand, Elly Donald, Zoe Griffiths, Courtney Neale
Squad: Tiana Atkinson, Samantha Bates, Makinley Blows, Lucy Cripps, Sophie Day, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Kim Garth, Ella Hayward, Anna Lanning, Meg Lanning*, Rhys McKenna, Sophie Molineux*, Rhiann O’Donnell, Ellyse Perry*, Lara Shannon, Annabel Sutherland*, Amy Vine, Tayla Vlaeminck*, Georgia Wareham*.
* indicates CA contracted player