The news is official now that Australia captain Meg Lanning will play for the Melbourne Stars in the upcoming season of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). The news was confirmed on Wednesday after the contract embargo was lifted last Friday. Although it was not a secret that she would return to Melbourne Stars – the team she led twice in the first two seasons before shifting to Perth Scorchers.

However, Lanning missed the third edition of the tournament due to shoulder surgery. She led Perth Scorchers in the past two editions. Stars failed to do well in the last season where they won only two wins from 14 matches. Moreover, they are the only team that never reached the playoffs. With the inclusion of Meg Lanning, the stars will surely try to bounce back.

Meg Lanning, however, shared why she moved. While saying that it would be a reunion with familiar faces in the team, the chance to work with new head coach Trent Woodhill is the main reason behind her decision.

“Trent Woodhill’s got a lot of experience in T20 cricket,” Lanning said. “(He’s) worked with so many great players and different franchises in different tournaments. I’m certainly looking forward to working with him and seeing what his philosophy is on T20 cricket especially.”

Meg Lanning is one of the best batters in recent times who have excelled in every format of the game. In the four seasons of WBBL, she has amassed 1983 runs which came at 47.15. With this, she sits sixth on the all-time run-getters list. It’s only the No.1 run-scorer Ellyse Perry who has a higher average than her. Notably, she was the leading run-getter in her previous two seasons for Stars where she smashed 560 and 502 runs respectively.

In the fifth edition of the tournament, she scored 531 runs including her maiden Big Bash century as the Perth Scorchers reached the semi-finals before Adelaide Strikers knocked them out. This time, the Stars will take on the Scorchers on October 18 in Western Australia – the second day of WBBL 06.

 Meg Lanning

Meg Lanning bats against the Brisbane Heat. ©Getty Images

“Having Meg back at the Stars is huge, it’s almost like starting again,” Woodhill said. “It’s the chance for the Stars to reset. We won’t be putting too much pressure on Meg to be the star of the show, but we know Meg is a star of world cricket. We want to be able to provide her with the environment where she can thrive, and bring out the best in her by having as much fun as possible through success and establishing a winning culture.”

Meg Lanning is the sixth confirmed name in the side for WBBL 06 after Elyse Villani, Annabel Sutherland, Nicole Faltum, Alana King and Holly Ferling who have multi-year deals.

“We’ve got an exciting group with a lot of improvement in it and I can’t wait to start working with those players and the coaching staff as well,” Lanning said.

“Elyse Villani is someone who I’ve always really enjoyed playing with (and) we’ve also got two very bright talents in Annabel Sutherland and Nic Faltum who have been around for a few years now, so I’m really excited to be able to play alongside them and hopefully help them develop further,” she concluded.

However, apart from South African duo Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez and White Ferns’ Katey Martin, the Stars have no overseas players who are contracted for this season. On the other hand, amid this crunch time of global pandemic COVID-19, there’s a restriction over travel as well which can pose trouble for overseas players. But CA’s Head of the Big Bash Leagues, Alastair Dobson has confirmed that the league and clubs are eyeing to bring the star players for the league.

Melbourne Stars WBBL 06 squads so far:

Nicole Faltum, Holly Ferling, Alana King, Meg Lanning, Annabel Sutherland, Elyse Villani.

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