Take the focus off spin, says ex-captain Larsen
FORMER Australia women's cricket captain Lyn Larsen believes a continued spin-heavy attack for Australia could leave them exposed come the pressure matches at this World Cup.
Larsen, who captained her country between 1985 and 1993, including a World Cup win in 1988, said an extra seamer against England could have helped limit the run chase.
Captain Meg Lanning came under fire after that match when she bowled out the first innings with part-timer Elyse Villani. England was at 6-246 then, but Villani was hit for 11 off the first three balls and then bowled a two-run wide catapulting England's final score to 259. She took two wickets in her final three deliveries, but the damage had been done.
Larsen said having an aggressive bowler, like Sarah Aley, who was the highest wicket taker this past WBBL, might have switched things and put the pressure on England instead.
"From my point of view, the bowling is probably my greatest concern going forward. If it all goes well it's fine, but under pressure, have they got that extra option up their sleeve to throw to ball to someone who can throw in the yorker or be able to finish off the innings for them?" questioned Larsen, who is in the UK following the Australians around with a small group of former international players.
"I think some of the other teams probably have some more options if things aren't going well and I think that was shown in the match against England where Meg had to bowl out with Elyse Villani.
"When Sarah (Aley) was picked; she's my kind of player, run ups, gives you 10 overs, can take wickets but can tie it up. All of us (ex-players), I think, would have thought she would have been an integral part of our bowling attack and the fact that she hasn't been is very disappointing.
"Throughout out my career I had a lot of Sarah Aleys, who could run up, give me what I wanted, I could set a field and we could work within that and you create pressure on the bat through dot balls.
"That's where Meg would have found it hard the other day. She would have looked around for 'who's my go-to person' and she had to throw to Villani, which, it's not Elyse's fault, she's a part-time bowler and is an option rather than having to be that go-to person."
Aley took 2-29 and one maiden from her only match this tournament, but Australia continues to favour a deep batting order. Players like spin bowlers Ashleigh Gardner and Jess Jonassen are batting at eight and nine in this World Cup, but open or come in at three for their WBBL teams.
Australia coach Matthew Mott said they consider an extra pace bowler each match, but take confidence they can chase any total and attack with the bat with their depth there.
"We have that conversation every game," Mott said.
"Certainly speaking to Lisa Sthalekar in the morning (against India) she was wondering why we didn't go the extra quick ... but we just think our bowlers, each game we manage them and try to see who's going to be most effective on that wicket.
"I don't think we've fully utilised (our batters) at times and that's something we spoke about in the last game, is just being a bit more bold and brave at certain patches and taking up the opposition. It's something we'll really look to do against South Africa."
Australia v South Africa, Saturday 7.30pm (AEST)