WBBL; Melbourne Stars questions how world’s best batter landed in Perth

Melbourne Stars captain Meg Lanning has hit out at former teammate Nat Sciver-Brunt over her decision to skip the WBBL draft before signing with the Perth Scorchers via a loophole.

Sciver-Brunt, who is the world No.1 ranked batter in women’s ODIs, was given the green light to enter the tournament following the draft after overcoming a knee injury sooner than expected.

The English all-rounder played 29 games with the Scorchers from 2017 to 2019 but was an inaugural Stars player and had her most recent stint with the Stars, starring in the 2020-21 tournament as they reached the final.

That stint meant the Stars had the retention rights to Sciver-Brunt if she had nominated for the draft, and Lanning said her decision to come in through the back door could hurt the club down the line.

“I’m pretty disappointed actually, she’s obviously one of the best players in the world and you want the best players in the competition,” Lanning said.

“But she made herself unavailable initially, and all the players of her calibre went through the draft or the pre-signing, and I guess she didn’t nominate for that.”

Lanning called for more consistency from the league in future seasons if it is to persist with the draft model.

“As a club, as the Stars, we feel like we didn’t get the chance to exercise our retention rights that we would have had for her had she nominated for the draft instead of coming in this way,” she said.

“Not only does that impact us this year but moving forward as well now. It’s frustrating because I think the goalposts seemed to shift a little bit.

“If there is going to be a draft, then you probably want to make sure it happens how you plan it to, and I’m not sure it’s happened here.”

The Stars recruited English trio Alice Capsey, Sophia Dunkley and Maia Bouchier through the draft, and Lanning said she was excited to lead them along with in-form Australian duo Kim Garth and Annabel Sutherland, who starred in the recent limited overs matches against the West Indies.

Lanning said the WBBL was in very healthy condition but would need to find “a point of difference” to continue to attract the best international talent as overseas T20 competitions expand further.

She said reducing the season from 14 matches to 10 would improve the quality of cricket and help keep the best international players in the competition.

“I think it should be 10 games – that’s just my personal opinion. There’s 14 games, it’s quite long and there seems to be a bit of a lull for most teams at some point during the season,” Lanning said.

“You could shorten it, maybe make it a little bit more enticing for the internationals to come and be a part of and stay part of it for the whole time as well.

“We’ve got some great international players coming, but in order to keep them coming, we’re going to have to make sure we keep up with (other competitions).”

The Stars open their WBBL campaign in Sydney on Thursday night against arch rivals the Sydney Sixers. They play the Scorchers on October 29.

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