100 days until the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup

This article was first written for and published by The Roar

THe countdown is well and truly on to the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup.

The Organising Committee celebrated 100 days to go this week with the announcement that Katy Perry will be playing at the final, which will be held on the eighth of March 2020 – which also happens to be International Women’s Day.

Fans of the Australian Women’s Cricket team will certainly be hoping that Katy will be the second-most talented Perry in action that day, with very high hopes for the prospects of the Aussie women in this tournament.

Australia's Ellyse Perry bats during the Women's T20 Triangular Series.

Australia’s Ellyse Perry will be the most famous Perry when Katy comes to town. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

While official preparation for most international teams has not commenced yet, unofficial preparation has with many of the women hoping to feature in that tournament currently playing in Australian for WBBL05.

In fact, I would argue that internationals have been the stars so far this summer.

Sophie Devine has been in incredible form for the Adelaide Strikers. She has already scored 335 runs and is the third highest run scorer so far.

She blew everyone away last weekend against the Melbourne Stars where she managed to hit five consecutive sixes in a row off the bowling of Maddie Penna.

While we are on the Melbourne Stars, Lizelle Lee has also been making plenty of runs. She is fourth highest run scorer so far on 297 and was the first woman to hit a WBBL century this summer.

Other internationals which have been in good form include Amy Jones and Tammy Beaumont (England), Kim Garth (Ireland), Shanbim Ismail and Dane van Niekerk (South Africa) and Lea Tahuhu and Amelia Kerr (New Zealand).

In my view there is no better preparation for this T20 Women’s World Cup than coming to Australia to get used to the conditions and play against the best female cricketers in the world.

But this is not the approach all countries have taken. India made the decision not to send players into the WBBL and the West Indies players were only available for part of the tournament. These two countries have instead opted to play a series against each other in the West Indies.

While I can see the benefit in getting the teams together this soon, I question whether this will be the best preparation ahead of the tournament which will start next February.

There’s also some uncertainty about the Australian team too. Given how successful the Australian Women’s Cricket team have been over the last two years, I wonder how willing Matthew Mott will be to make changes to the squad based on the form demonstrated during this season of the WBBL.

Mott has been flying all over the country watching the WBBL and will no doubt have been impressed by the likes of Jess Duffin who has scored 271 runs this summer, led the Melbourne Renegades with aplomb and managed to get the team out of strife on several occasions, Molly Strano who has already taken 11 wickets and is second only to her Melbourne Renegades teammate Maitlan Brown who has taken 12.

There were also a couple of women no doubt who were hoping to use the WBBL as an audition for the T20 World Cup. Nicola Carey immediately springs to mind who moved from the Sydney Thunder to the Hobart Hurricanes this summer.

Traditionally, Carey batted lower down the order for the Thunder at number six or seven, which meant she wasn’t given much opportunity to bat. She has been batting up the order for the Hurricanes this year and even opened the batting this weekend but has probably not made the runs she would have hoped.

Sophie Molineux is another player who has been in and out of the Australian squad over the last year due to a shoulder reconstruction which has taken some time to heal.

In the past, Molineux has proven herself as an explosive all rounder and Matthew Mott has often emphasised the importance of all rounders in the Australian team. Whilst Molineux has been impressive with ball in hand, taking eight wickets, she has only managed 74 runs in eight innings opening for the Renegades.

Mott will have some tough decisions to make at the conclusion of this WBBL but it almost looks like he has far too much talent to choose from.

Any fears I had about fatigue for the Aussie women have been put to bed for the moment too with Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney and Ellyse Perry continuing to dominate the batting in the competition this year.