It’s been a big year indeed and has seen the women’s team further cement their position at the top of the ICC world rankings. That’s largely been thanks to a string of quality performances, none more so than the sterling efforts put in by the ladies in their latest ODI series with South Africa back in November.
The only hint of disappointment on the pitch was a tense draw in the penultimate game of that series, despite being favourites on the betting odds to win the match. It meant that South Africa avoided the whitewash and put an end to the Southern Stars’ nine-match winning streak – but they’re still undefeated of course.
So here we go, the top three things we learnt from the Australian women’s cricket team in 2016.
#1 – Meg Lanning is an Undeniable Star of This Generation
At only 24 years of age, Meg Lanning is already being tipped as the best female cricketer of her generation. Not only that, some even rank her as the most natural female batter of all time.
Of all the wonderful knocks the Southern Stars captain has hit this year, none were more dazzling than the 134 from 122 balls against South Africa at the Manuka Oval. Her contributions have been both timely and hugely influential throughout the year, which has also seen her named in the inaugural ICC Women’s Team of the Year 2016. Good on ya, Meg.
#2 – There’s Plenty of Talent Coming through the Ranks
Despite the fact that the team is still quite a young bunch, it’s good to see the next crop of talent getting called up to the first team.
Allrounder Tahlia McGrath, 21, and leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, 19, are two of the promising players that have caught the eye of the selectors this year. In fact, both women have been working hard to get their shot for almost a decade, having both started out in Under 12s cricket down in Adelaide. It’s a great story and definitely a just reward for all their hard work!
#3 – The ‘Pregnancy Clause’
Okay so we can’t really have an accurate list of key events without talking a little bit about the controversial ‘pregnancy clause’ that female cricketers must sign when they agree their one-year contract.
If you don’t know about this then you should definitely gen up on the facts. Cricket Australia have recently confirmed that the clause – which asks female players to disclose whether or not they are pregnant – is part of each player’s contract. In most other employment contracts, such a clause is prohibited on discriminatory grounds.
In their defence, Cricket Australia do say that the clause is intended as a duty of care inclusion. However, several players have already lobbied against the clause which, you have to say, does not seem entirely appropriate in the modern game.