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Cricket news - We just want to play cricket - Meg Lanning
Meg Lanning said the players would be happy to be a part of the WBBL even if the tournament has to be staged alongside the men's event
With the Coronavirus pandemic bringing cricket to a grinding halt across nations, Meg Lanning, Australia women's captain, reckons she and the rest of the players would be happy to be a part of the Women's Big Bash, even if the tournament has to be staged alongside the men's event.
The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has been by and large successful in arguing the case for a full-fledged Women's Big Bash (WBBL) tournament as well as a full season of the Women's National Cricket League, but there have been questions mooted on the financial pitfalls of guaranteeing a standalone WBBL tournament - a move that was welcomed successfully in the form of bigger gate receipts and positive media coverage, when it was first introduced in 2019.
Lanning and her Victoria teammates returned to training for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic amidst tight rules and regulations at the Junction Oval, Melbourne. Even as she awaits resumption of cricket, the Australian captain reckoned that she didn't expect a huge fall-out or massive financial implications on the game, both men's and women's, even as Cricket Australia (CA) is grappling over possible losses set to be incurred.
"We just have to look at what the situation is. Obviously, with crowds, I am not sure where that sits and if there will be any crowds, I think, speaking to all the players, and the ACA as well, we just want to play cricket," she said.
Before the tournament became a standalone event, the WBBL saw teams playing double-headers and also accommodating the fixture list in a shorter period of time, something Lanning says might well be the possible blueprint for next season's event. "We played a lot of double-headers in the early days of the WBBL but we moved away from that because I think it was ready to stand by itself.
"But, obviously, we are in a new situation now and we have to reassess and work out what the best thing is for the game and for the women's side of things as well. Everything is on the table and we just have to work out what is going to be the best result for everybody. If it means we have to play double-headers or multiple games in days, I am not sure. We just want to play. We are willing to communicate and negotiate on what that looks like," she added.
Having returned to training at the Junction Oval, the 28-year old wasn't surprised by the amount of precautions taken ahead of the practice stints by the Victorian state team. "We are really only allowed in here for a short amount of time. There is no real socialising or anything like that. You can come in and train and have to go out straight away," she said.
"Obviously, get our temperature checked every time you come into the facility, cleaning everything that you touch, any equipment that you use, and things like that. There are some very strict guidelines in place. We are not currently allowed to use the indoor centre at the moment - that is blocked off until July.
"There are still a fair few things that we can't do. We just wanted to get back into training. Luckily, we have been able to do that and whatever restrictions are in place we will certainly follow, she added.
There have been speculations surrounding Lanning's return to Melbourne Stars ahead of next season's WBBL, but the Australia captain, who spent her initial years with the franchise before signing a three-year deal with Perth Scorchers in 2017, wasn't forthcoming just yet.
"I've had a bit of time to think through where I want to be for next year WBBL wise and In my mind, I've worked out what I want to do," Lanning said. "But obviously with the embargo period still in place, nothing official can take place."
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