Lanning leads big names eyeing new WBBL deals
The Australia skipper could be on the move for the new WBBL season after a three-year stint in Perth with several stars out of contract
12 May 2020, 12:12 PM AEST
If you thought Australian captain Meg Lanning was the only big-name player out of contract and potentially headed to a new home for Rebel WBBL|06, think again.
The contracting window for the next Big Bash season has yet to open – but when it does, some of the country's top talent will be up for grabs.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means there is a degree of uncertainty around when that window will open, whether contracting rules will remain the same as previous years, or even how the next season will play out.
But for now, run your eyes over this list and dream about who may be wearing your club's colours come the first game of WBBL|06!
Meg Lanning (Perth Scorchers)
She is the Australian captain, she makes runs for fun and is one of the world's best with willow in hand. Lanning's three-year deal as Perth Scorchers skipper came to an end when her team was knocked out of the semi-finals in December and now the 28-year-old is a free agent.
Lanning is still said to be weighing up her options but has been reported to be linked with a move back to the Melbourne Stars, where she spent the first two Big Bash seasons. But the Scorchers are also desperate to hang on to their leader under new coach Shelley Nitschke, who is also an Australian assistant.
Beth Mooney (Brisbane Heat)
Mooney just keeps finding new levels to her game and WBBL|05 was her best season with the bat yet, as she struck 743 runs at 74.3 for the Brisbane Heat, second only to the Strikers' Sophie Devine (769) on the overall tally.
The proud Queenslander has worn teal since day one and it is hard to picture the left-hander in anything else, but she has said she is open to offers and will not rule out a move – however, is it difficult to see her heading to either club directly south of the border!
Jess Jonassen (Brisbane Heat)
The Brisbane Heat allrounder enjoyed her best ever season with bat and ball in WBBL|05 and her stocks have never been higher. Given the success she has enjoyed with the Heat, winning back-to-back titles, it would be a big call to look for new challenges elsewhere – but stranger things have happened!
Sophie Molineux (Melbourne Renegades)
A Renegade from the start, Molineux was part of the talented young crop signed by the Renegades in the competition's first two seasons – a long-term decision that has started paying off handsomely as those players come into their own, with the Melbourne club making back-to-back semi-finals.
Molineux is one of the brightest young prospects in Australian cricket, however, and the Renegades can expect some competition for the 22-year-old's signature.
Grace Harris (Brisbane Heat)
Harris did not quite hit the heights she would have liked in WBBL|05, but there's little doubt that on her day, she is one of the more dynamic and exciting batters in the country. She has moved away from Brisbane once before, spending a season with the Renegades before returning to the Heat – so she may be tempted to try another move, in an effort to reignite her form with the bat.
Sammy-Jo Johnson (Brisbane Heat)
Another two-time champion with the Heat, Johnson is a force to be reckoned with, be it with the new ball or as a pinch-hitter with the bat. As far as serious local talent goes, Johnson is up there with the best and there would be a few clubs in need of a pace bowler who will be looking closely at the 27-year-old.
Naomi Stalenberg (Sydney Thunder)
Stalenberg was long rated as one of Australia's most promising up-and-coming bats, but has played just one T20I for her country and has not been part of a national squad since 2018. She has been in lime green since the first season of the competition, but a change in scenery could be what the 26-year-old needs to put herself back in the frame for higher honours.
Bridget Patterson (Adelaide Strikers)
Another underage Australian player who dropped off the radar for a time, Patterson burst back in serious fashion in WBBL|05. She hit 319 runs including two half-centuries earned a spot in the Australia A team as due reward – and higher honours yet could still beckon. Any other club will have a tough time prying the Kangaroo Island resident away from her native South Australia, but there are sure to be offers.
Belinda Vakarewa (Hobart Hurricanes)
Vakarewa's first season in purple was a raging success, as the finishes as the tournament's most prolific pace bowler with 20 wickets at 15.8. Given those fortunes under the tutelage of Salliann Briggs, it is hard to see her walking away after just one year, but other clubs would be silly not to throw their hat in the ring for the right-armer.