T20 WC can be a turning point for women’s sport: Lanning

DUBAI, FEB 6 : Australia captain Meg Lanning is hoping that the upcoming T20 World Cup turns out to be a tournament from where the women’s sport takes off.

Lanning will be leading Australia in their title defense at the tournament starting February 21 in Sydney.

“This tournament can be a real turning point for women’s sport around the world, it’s a really big event, there’s a lot of talk around it — certainly more hype than I’ve ever experienced before — so hopefully that’s a sign of everyone jumping on board and getting involved,” Lanning was quoted as saying in an ICC media release.

“Hopefully we can look back on this tournament as a real moment from which women’s sport takes off.” Lanning, who has represented Australia in 94 T20Is, believes that being the hosts, they won’t be under any extra pressure.

“World Cups carry pressure and expectation for any team — and being at home doesn’t make it any different for us or any other side,” said the 27-year-old.

“We want to make sure that we’re enjoying the moment and embracing everything that comes with it. We’re not daunted by that; we want to take it on and focus on what we can control.

“So far, we’ve done that well and we’ve put ourselves in a good position to carry that on.” The Australia captain also exuded confidence on her team, saying they will draw experience from their previous successful T20 World Cup campaigns.

“There are a few hurdles to get over before we can think about the MCG, but to play there in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final, on International Women’s Day, would be amazing for all of us,” Lanning said.

“We’re very aware of what we need to do to get there, there’s a lot of hard work involved and we need to make sure we start off well in that first game against India and go from there. There are no guarantees in this sport.

“We’ve been very successful in T20 World Cups in the past and a lot of that is down to how we’ve been able to evolve as a team. We haven’t relied on one or two players, we’ve got a lot of depth and the young players that come in have always shown what they’re capable of.

“We’ve got a really good squad again and we’re going to need all 15 of those players to play a part in getting the result we want,” she added.

Australia will play their first match in the T20 World Cup against India at the tournament opener at the Spotless Stadium in Sydney on February 21.

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