Opinion | Australia and their way forward in the absence of Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Cricket Queens
The gold medalists from the Commonwealth Games 2022 will be looking for a start without their captain & vice-captain, who led the team to several victories over the years. While Meg Lanning is on an indefinite break, Rachael Haynes has retired. Alyssa Healy is likely to lead Australia for the first time in her career.
The absence of the duo is all set to leave a massive void in the squad, not only on the batting forefront but also on the leadership side of things. Here is how Australia could be looking to build its T20 squad going forward.
CWG SQUAD & AVAILABLE SPOTS:
WHOM AUSTRALIA MIGHT OPT FOR:
1) Georgia Redmayne:
Redmayne has been banging on the door for a while & she has had another stellar season of WBBL. I cannot be 100% certain about Australia opting for her with Mooney in the team, but there's a funky move they can opt for which will allow them to add Redmayne & fill up Haynes' spot with an alteration to the batting order.
Out-of-the-box move: Redmayne & Mooney are clones. Their approach & pacing of the innings in T20s is very similar as LHB openers which could make it hard for Australia to have both in the side. But, their possible fix could be to open with Redmayne and push Mooney down the order to occupy the vacant/usual spot of Haynes at 5-6. Mooney has a very adaptable gameplay based on what position she bats & could deliver in the middle-order.
2) Elyse Villani:
The #3 spot has been left vacant by Meg Lanning & in Villani lies the answer to that vacancy. Villani brings in experience as a batter & leader, both of which are required with the gaps left by Lanning & Haynes. At #3, she fits in perfectly as an RHB replacement for Lanning who starts slowly and then takes on the pacers & spinners.
3) Erin Burns ahead of Grace Harris:
Burns has been tremendous as a middle-order batter who has reveled in finishing the games. It's what Haynes did & now Burns could, going forward. Grace Harris has been in the Australian side with a very limited role to play & has not bowled a single over in the recent WBBL. With Burns having played a part in both facets and her game equally good against pace & spin, she could get a look in ahead of Harris who has been relatively susceptible against pace. However, don't discount Grace as the day she gets going, she will be a show-stopper.
4) Heather Graham ahead of Nicola Carey:
This is another possibility, and not a certainty. Carey has been off-color from time to time & has gone down the pecking order ever since Tahlia McGrath has taken over as the leading pace AR in the side. While she has still done decently with the ball in the WBBL this year, it's Heather Graham's versatility as a medium pacer & her far superior batting skills that could see her finding a place in the squad ahead of Carey. What works in favor of Carey is that she is an LHB in the lower middle-order & perhaps the only option with Haynes gone. But, Australia might still turn a blind eye to that & opt for Graham to be the backup pace AR.