The captain of six-time women's Cricket World Cup winners Australia, Meg Lanning, has said that the loss to India in the 2017 edition of the showpiece event in England had forced the team management to bring about big changes in the way the site now plays the game, adding that the group is motivated to go the distance in the latest edition, set to begin here on March 4.
Riding on a historic unbeaten 171 off 115 deliveries from Harmanpreet Kaur, India had defeated Australia by 36 runs in the 2017 women's 50-over World Cup semifinal. The Mithali Raj-led side then lost to England in the final at Lord's.
Ahead of the opening match of the 2022 edition of the women's World Cup against England on March 5, Lanning said during an interaction organised by the ICC that the current bunch was completely different from the one that lost to India in 2017.
"This group that we've got here is very different to 2017. I think the majority of the players were not even involved in the tournament, and the majority of the staff also weren't there. The impacts of the 2017 World Cup (loss) have obviously changed the way we play but, from now really moving forward, this World Cup is completely different," said Lanning.
The 29-year-old Lanning, who also captained the side during the 2017 World Cup, added that the group "doesn't talk" about the semifinal loss, though she conceded that it had a "big impact" on the side then.
"It's a new World Cup, everybody starts on zero points and needs to play well throughout the tournament. It's a great challenge for our group but, to be honest, we don't really talk about 2017 anymore. It obviously had a big impact on us but now it's a completely different group, and we're on a new journey together."
Lanning also revealed the potential replacements in the team, should Australia need to field members of management staff as permitted by a rule for the tournament. The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Thursday that teams could field a side of nine players and include two female substitutes from their management staff, to ensure the competition runs as normally as possible.
The rules have been enforced to ensure none of the matches gets abandoned, or a team gets scratched from the tournament, due to Covid-19 cases in the eight competing sides.
"I asked our physio and media manager what their preferred fielding positions were if they were to take the field. Hopefully it doesn't come to that for any team. It's an interesting way to go about it and I understand we want to get cricket in, we want to play the games. But if that did occur, I think it'd be pretty interesting situation."
Hosts New Zealand will play West Indies in the opening match of the tournament on March 4.