Samantha Bates joins; Elyse Villani and Molly Strano opt out as Victoria name squad for 2021-22 season

Victoria. © Getty Images

Victoria announced a 20-member squad for the 2021-22 season of domestic cricket on Monday (May 10). The squad consists of six centrally contracted Australian players in Meg Lanning, Sophie Molineux, Ellyse Perry, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck and Georgia Wareham, while the experienced duo of Elyse Villani and Molly Strano opted out in order to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Samantha Bates is the new addition to the squad after choosing to move from Tasmania.

Victoria finished as runners-up in the WNCL 2020-21 after losing in the final to Queensland by 112 runs.

Villani and Strano have informed Cricket Victoria that they are looking for new opportunities with other states. Villani, WNCL Player of the Year, will play for Tasmania for the 2021-22 season, cricket.com.au. confirmed. Left-arm spinner Bates will join the side after playing for Tasmania last season.

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Villani was the highest run-getter in the WNCL 2020-21 scoring 611 runs from nine matches at an average of 87.28 while Strano was the leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets to her name from six matches at an average of 14.42. Bates took 1o wickets from seven matches for Tasmania at an average of 27.20

“Elyse and Molly have both been fantastic teammates and role models in our squad,” Shaun Graf, Cricket Victoria general manager, said. “While we’re disappointed they won’t be in navy blue next season, we understand and respect their decision.”

“We’re excited to welcome Samantha Bates who is an accomplished spin bowler alongside some talented young players.”

Off-spinner Ella Hayward, who made her Victoria debut in WNCL last season and also played for Melbourne Renegades in WBBL06, is named in the squad along with Rhiann O’Donnell, Tiana Atkinson, Rhys McKenna and Lara Shannon.

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Cricket Victoria hasn’t renewed Bhavi Devchand, Elly Donald, Zoe Griffiths and Courtney Neale’s contracts after being featured in the squad during the last season.

“Having a larger number of Australian contracts has allowed us to give more opportunities to players coming through the Women’s Premier Cricket pathway. We’re looking forward to seeing those players join the program and helping them develop over the year ahead,” Graf added.

Squad: Tiana Atkinson, Samantha Bates, Makinley Blows, Lucy Cripps, Sophie Day, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Kim Garth, Ella Hayward, Anna Lanning, Meg Lanning, Rhys McKenna, Sophie Molineux, Rhiann O’Donnell, Ellyse Perry, Lara Shannon, Annabel Sutherland, Amy Vine, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham