Meg Lanning looks certain to make a Stars return after Trent Woodhill named coach

Meg Lanning in action for Melbourne Stars. © Getty Images

Australian T20 World Cup-winning captain Meg Lanning looks all set to return in the Melbourne Stars fold in the Women’s Big Bash League this summer after the club appointed Trent Woodhill as the new head coach. Woodhill, who has been a batting whisperer to several greats of world cricket, has replaced David Hemp but will also retain his role as list manager of the men’s and women’s Stars squads.

However, his appointment has reinforced the cost-cutting measures in place across Cricket Victoria, at a time when the state cricketing board is expecting a 25 per cent cut from its Cricket Australia distribution.

Having worked with IPL franchises Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), New Zealand, and New South Wales, and with an experience of working with greats like Virat Kohli, David Warner and Kane Williamson, Woodhill’s appointment will aid Lanning, who is returning to the side after spending three years with Perth Scorchers.

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According to sources, Stars have offered Lanning a three-year deal but cannot sign until the Cricket Australia-embargo period for state and BBL teams end this month. “I will probably be a little more hard-edged on competitiveness … this year will be about scrapping. I want the younger players to learn how to scrap and the more experienced players to continue to learn,” an excited Woodhill said.

“I want athletic players who want an opportunity. There are lots of players at other franchises who are happy to sit on the pine rather than put themselves in the spotlight. We want players who want to put themselves under the spotlight.”

It has been a period of major disorder for the Stars as an overall franchise. After help left following another poor season, the franchise announced Leah Poulton as a women’s coach but she quit shortly to accept the role of Head of Female Cricket at NSW. The women’s team also have only five players signed for the next season – Elyse Villani, Annabel Sutherland, Holly Ferling, Nicole Faltum and Alana King – and are yet to make the finals in five seasons.