Last time when Australia defeated England to keep the Ashes urn on their home turf, they were without the skipper Meg Lanning. Lanning was recovering from the major shoulder injury that kept her out of the game for a long time.
It was under the captaincy of Rachael Haynes the Aussies sealed the series. As Australia and England are the only two International sides playing Test cricket, the frequency of the matches is only one per two years when they play a multi-format Ashes.
“I was really jealous sitting on the sidelines during that last series, it’s a really great thing to be a part of,” Lanning told cricket.com.au.
Currently the teams are involved so much limited overs format, playing with the red ball becomes challenging. In the 2017 test, both the teams played the first ever Day/Night test match which was played with the pink ball.
Australia’s contracted players will be training in Brisbane for a three-week camp to get acclimatise to the red ball. The Australian side will play a three-day warm-up game in the UK ahead of the Test in Taunton.
“We want to play good cricket no matter what format it is and it is harder in Test matches because we just don’t play it enough to really understand what our strengths and weaknesses are,” Lanning said.
“But at the end of the day, I think as long as we stick to the style of play that has treated us well (in all formats) over the last 18 months, that’s the best way to approach it.
“I don’t think you can change too much. We still want to play a good brand of cricket and continue to move the game forward as much as we can.
“I think the best way to do that is to play naturally.”
In the off season Lanning is working hard to improve certain aspects of her game.
“For me it’s about continuing to open up scoring areas,” she said.
“A lot of our focus is mostly that everyone’s trying to improve their game and trying to be able to score all around the ground.
“There’s no specific shot, but it’s about identifying areas of the ground where I don’t hit as much.
“I’m probably more dominant to the offside so it’s just trying to develop that onside stuff and be able to hit powerfully straight, I think it’s really important in our game to be able to do that, so they’re probably the two areas that are important to me.
“It’s quite fun to be honest, just a bit of experimenting which is good. You don’t get to do that too much.”
Lanning was the captain of the 2015’s touring Australian team that won back the Ashes in England. Australia didn’t play very well in the T20 format and were in danger of losing the Ashes had England won all the T20 matches.
She recalled the penultimate T20 played at Hove in which Australia defended a low score of 107 to seal the series.
“That game at Hove, where we actually won the Ashes, nobody could think could happen, that’s one of the best game’s I’ve been a part of,” she said.
“It just sort of showed that we had as a group and the special nature of it.
“Hopefully we won’t be defending 107 again this time, but games against England are always really exciting and a good contest.”