As the Australian men’s team’s long tour of Sri Lanka winds up, the Southern Stars are ready to fly out for their first ever tour there – a limited-overs series that demonstrates that much could be learnt from the women’s game.
Meg Lanning’s squad are travelling to Colombo as part of the ICC Women’s Championship, with crucial points on offer in the first three one-day internationals in their bid to secure automatic qualification for next year’s 50-over World Cup in England.
The ICC is considering introducing a similar league structure for the limited-overs forms of men’s cricket in a development that could add context to standalone bilateral series.
In the women’s championship countries play each other home or away over a four-year cycle, with the top four gaining direct entry to the World Cup. The Australians, reassembling for the first time since the World Twenty20 championship in India in March, are on top of the ladder as they head to eighth-rated Sri Lanka.
“What’s been really great about this competition is it puts impetus on all nations,” Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry said. “We haven’t toured Sri Lanka for a standalone series before. The [championship] has been mutually beneficial in that in allows us to be exposed to different conditions and some of the other countries can develop further as well.”
Perry is now keen on developing her leadership credentials further. She led Sydney Sixers to the final of the first Women’s Big Bash League last summer and has now been named to skipper a Governor-General’s XI at Drummoyne Oval in an annual game that was launched last season and this year will feature a touring South African XI.
“I haven’t done a lot of captaincy in my professional career, but I did quite a bit as a kid,” Perry said. “Last year was the first time I’ve really had a go at it playing at a higher level. I really enjoyed it andI guess the more experience you have doing it the more comfortable you get at it.”