Australian national team captain Meg Lanning has signed with WBBL side the Melbourne Stars ahead of WBBL|06.
Lanning had previously spent the first two years of the WBBL with the Stars, captaining the squad, playing 27 matches, and scoring 1062 runs. The team narrowly missed the playoffs both years, finishing fifth both season.
The WBBL|01-02 leading run-scorer then moved to the Perth Scorchers on a three-year deal from WBBL|03-05. A shoulder injury kept ruled her out of WBBL|03. She captained the side for her last two season with the club though, scoring 920 runs in her 24 Scorchers matches.
When speaking about her departure to perthscorchers.com.au, General Manager Kade Harvey stated:
“We are obviously disappointed that Meg won’t be part of the Scorchers campaign in WBBL|06, she has been an important part of our success over the past few seasons and leaves the team on good terms and with very fond memories.
“Meg is a world class cricketer, and she’s not only kept our Members and fans entertained through her skills, but it’s also been great for our playing group to watch and learn from a player of her calibre. We wish Meg all the very best of luck at the Melbourne Stars.”
While part of the move has been credited to her wanting to return to Victoria, her home state, the signing of new Stars head coach Trent Woodhill has also been part of her motivation.
“One of the main drawcards to return to the Stars is to work with Head Coach Trent Woodhill. His knowledge of the T20 game and to have worked with so many great players and different franchises in different tournaments is great experience to have, so I’m certainly looking forward to working with him and seeing what his philosophy is on T20 cricket especially" Lanning told melbournestars.com.au.
Woodhill stated equal optimism when speaking to melbournestars.com.au:
“Having Meg back at the Stars is huge, it’s almost like starting again. 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.”
Ironically, the Melbourne Stars will open WBBL|06 in Perth on October 17 against the Melbourne Thunder, due to the WBBL|06 "hub" game format instituted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Stars' will then meet the Perth Scorchers is on October 18, 2020, again in Perth.
The Stars will be hoping that Lanning will add to their firepower as well as their WBBL|05 season where they finished in the last place with only two wins.