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WPL: Sutherland will add a lot of firepower to our team, says DC captain Lanning

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WPL: Sutherland will add a lot of firepower to our team, says DC captain Lanning

Bengaluru, Feb 21 (IANS) Ahead of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 season, Delhi Capitals captain Meg Lanning believes the inclusion of all-rounder Annabel Sutherland, who the side roped in for Rs 2 crore at the auction, will add a lot more firepower to the team.

Annabel recently starred in Australia’s one-off Test against South Africa, making a double century and taking a five-wicket haul in the hosts’ win by an innings and 242 runs at Perth. “She comes into the team in hot form. I have played a lot of cricket with her and she’s a great addition, both with the bat and the ball.”

“She has matured a lot on and off the field over the past 12 months. She will add a lot of depth, a lot of firepower to our team and I am excited to see how things go,” said Meg to broadcasters JioCinema ahead of the tournament.

Lanning, Australia’s multiple times World Cup-winning, was the leading run-scorer in the inaugural season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) in 2023, amassing 345 runs in nine matches for the Delhi Capitals.

Though Meg retired from international cricket last year, she is keen to get the Capitals win WPL 2024 after being runners-up last time. “It will be nice to contribute like I did last year. But my number one priority is to win the tournament and help Delhi win the tournament. So obviously as a batter I need to make some runs.

“That’s the plan I am looking forward to. I have always enjoyed playing in India and it’s going to be tough. You’ve got some good bowlers out there and there’s no hiding these days as everybody knows what you do. So we’ll go out there, have some fun and see what happens.”

Asked about how DC dealt with the finale loss, Meg said: “Obviously, we would have loved to win and we got reasonably close to that. We didn’t make as many runs as we would have liked to. We had to fight really hard with the ball and Mumbai were just too good in the end. But to play such good cricket throughout was great. Hopefully we can go one better this year.”

Meg also feels she has evolved a lot over the years as a captain in the shortest format. “I am a very different captain now then what I was at the start. A lot of it has got to do with instinct especially in T20 cricket. It changes so quickly and you always need to stay a step ahead.

“So, it’s always a good challenge for me to think about what the batters may be trying to do, and plan with the bowlers accordingly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You have got to expect to fail a fair bit and expect things not to go right, but that’s the game and you need to work out the road ahead.”

She also had something to say on her vice-captain Jemimah Rodrigues. “She’s got a lot of talent obviously. She plays her music as well. She brings a lot of energy. It’s actually hard to get her attention on the field.

“Sometimes, she’s dancing for the crowd and performing for them. I had my challenges trying to get hold of her but it’s nice to see her enjoying herself. So, let’s see how it goes this year.”

Speaking about the preparations for WPL 2024, Meg explained: “Everybody looks like they have improved and they are enjoying their cricket and are ready for the start of the season. We know each other a lot better than we did last year and we’ve got a reasonably similar squad as well. Hopefully that will mean we’ll be able to play well.”

With Delhi being one of the two venues alongside Bengaluru for WPL 2024, Meg is excited to play in front of DC’s home crowd. “I have played once in Delhi a number of years ago, so we are relying on some local knowledge. Generally, for T20 cricket in India, the tracks are pretty flat, targets hard to defend but good for batting.

“We are really pumped to play in front of our home fans. We really felt the support last year playing in Mumbai, but playing in front of our fans is something the group is looking forward to.”

Meg signed off by revealing bits from her life post international cricket retirement, including working in a cafe. “It’s been good to be a little bit quieter, little bit slower pace, but I am ready to get back into the WPL. I have still been playing some domestic cricket back home, just trying to get ready for the tournaments I am playing in.

“I worked at a café for about eight weeks, mainly just taking the coffees out. I would have loved to have been a barista but that may have been my next step. I do like my coffee and I have been to a few cafes in my town. I thought I’ll go and check it out from a different perspective and it was something I enjoyed doing.”

–IANS

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