By Brittany Carter
Seventeen fantastic international players have been secured to play in the inaugural season of the WBBL.
But don’t be distracted by the new competition’s intercontinental signing ability, there are plenty of domestic personalities that are sure to shine in the newest contest for women’s cricket in Australia.
Brittany Carter brings you up to speed with five of our home-grown players that are set to take the WBBL stage by storm.
Ellyse Perry, Sydney Sixers
One of the better known names in women’s cricket, Ellyse Perry is sure to have some fun in the WBBL format.
Recently confirmed as the Sydney Sixers skipper, the all-rounder who also plays for Sydney FC in the W-League has certainly made her mark in the cricketing world.
Named the Australian Player of the 2015 Ashes, she was a main factor in the Southern Stars’ multi-format series-win, scoring 264 runs for an average of 33, and managing 16 wickets at 13.43.
She got the job done for the Aussies on the final day of the Ashes test, taking 6 for 32 and notching 78, 48 and 67 in the green and gold’s ODI series triumph.
That red-hot form continued in the WNCL, where Perry scored her maiden competition century and was an integral part of the NSW Breakers team, the Blues having another top season where they made the final but missed out on an 11th consecutive title.
The first member of the Sixers team to be signed, Perry has been there every step of the recruitment process and, now that’s she’s been given the nod to lead from the front, will no doubt set a great example.
Meg Lanning, Melbourne Stars
Australia’s, Victoria’s and now the Melbourne Star’s captain also happens to be the number one female batter in the world right now.
Having lead the Southern Stars to their first Ashes win on English soil since 2001, Lanning also holds the highest individual score in women’s Twenty20s and the highest score in Australian domestic cricket.
Smashing a century in the second ODI of this year’s multi-format Ashes series, she pushed Australia to 63 in front of England, levelling the competition and driving the side back into the game.
The opening batter has always jumped at the chance to represent her state and after the Vic Spirit finished in fourth place in the WNCL, Lanning will be eager to establish her side as the best team in Melbourne, with rivals the Renegades keen to challenge them for that title.
Lanning’s ease at the crease and her ability to make the toughest shots look easy will ensure she is a star performer in the WBBL’s fast-paced and hard-hitting format.
Grace Harris, Brisbane Heat
The all-rounder has only recently broken onto the international scene, making her debut for the Southern Stars in three warm-up games against Ireland earlier this year.
But she ended up stealing the show, taking out player of the series with a total of three wickets and a score of 39 not out from just 21 balls.
Harris continued to make herself useful for Australia in the T20 matches of the Ashes series, smashing three big sixes in Cardiff.
For someone relatively unknown on an international scale, Harris has really cemented her place in the Australian line up with a strike rate of 170.68 from six T20Is.
Back at home in her Western Suburbs kit, she’s been incredibly successful, hitting 151 not out from 74 balls back in February to score the highest domestic T20 score in QLD Premier Cricket.
Of all the mystery surrounding Harris one thing is for sure; you’ll need to be ready for a catch all the way back to the 10th row if you’re heading to any of the Brisbane Heat games.
Elyse Villani, Perth Scorchers
Although the Western Fury finished low on the WNCL ladder, top order batsmen Elyse Villani won’t have too much to worry about with opening scores of 48, 142 and 79 under her belt.
The T20 specialist has played a total of 29 Twenty20 international matches since debuting for Australia back in 2009, averaging 29 with the bat.
Her best score in the shorter format was recorded last year against Pakistan, where she smacked an impressive 90 not out to push the Southern Stars into the World Twenty20 semi-finals.
While Villani’s performance in the Ashes series was hot and cold, on her best days the opener can put anyone’s batting to shame.
With a familiar face in the form of opening partner Nicole Bolton and a handful of international stars in the Perth Scorchers line up, Villani should excel in the WBBL.
Rene Farrell, Sydney Thunder
Rene Farrell first secured her spot in the Southern Stars when she was introduced to the international game back in 2007 and the fast bowler has never looked back.
She shone in the 2011 Ashes, demonstrating her talent as a quickie, collecting a Test hat-trick in the second innings and finishing up with figures of 5 for 23.
Farrell proved her ability again in this year’s Ashes series, where she took three crucial wickets and a run-out in the second Twenty20 match at Hove.
She has a knack of injecting some creativity into the game with her unique inswing when there’s a lull in wickets.
In the WNCL Farrell made the switch back to the NSW Breakers for 2015, playing for her home state for the first time since 2008, adding plenty of experience and a never-say-die attitude to the side.
With 43 T20Is listed her resume, the veteran should be right at home with the high-intensity and swift play of the WBBL.
Topics: cricket, sport, australia