News Analysis

It is already accepted that Meg Lanning’s team has enviable depth and they are likely to need it over the next year

It’s one of sports many clichés that players don’t look too far ahead and only take each match as it comes. So let’s do it on behalf of Australia.

The opening ODI against India in Mackay on Tuesday marks the start of an unprecedented period of 12 (or even 18) months of international cricket. There’s an Ashes series in January, an ODI World Cup in March and a first appearance at the Commonwealth Games in July. Then, in early 2023, there will be the defence of their T20 World Cup title. Cricket’s unofficial Grand Slam is on the line.

The major focus is the 50-over World Cup after their often-referenced semi-final exit at the hands of Harmanpreet Kaur and India in 2017. But they will be desperate for multi-format success – which includes two Tests in the season – and to have a gold medal around their necks in Birmingham.

Their depth will be tested like never before, even including when they lost Ellyse Perry during the T20 World Cup having also seen Tayla Vlaeminck sidelined just days before it began. There is a good chance that the majority of the 18 players in the squad to face India will get a game over the next three weeks. When you add back in Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen that’s 20 names who are likely to feature extensively, but they may need to delve further into the domestic game. The WBBL, a key part in building Australia’s depth, starts shortly after this series.

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