Villani returns to Victoria for upcoming summer



Villani played for Western Australia for the last three seasons, even leading them to the WNCL final last year. © Getty

Victoria have been boosted by the return of Elyse Villani for the upcoming summer, who returns to the state side for the 2018-19 Women’s National Cricket League season. After having last played for home state Victoria between 2008 and 2015, Villani moved to the Western Fury in Western Australia, leading them to the WNCL final last summer.

“From my perspective, it’s the right time to come home,” said Villani on Wednesday (June 13), who is set to return home for personal reasons. “It’s a pretty exciting time to get back involved with Victorian cricket and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.

“I’ve spent some time in the new facilities in St Kilda and I’m really impressed. It’s an amazing setup and combined with a Victorian squad which has many new and familiar faces, there is a bright future ahead. I’d like to thank the WACA and my Fury teammates and support staff for the opportunities they’ve given me to keep growing as a player. The last few seasons have been a great change for me – I really enjoyed my time in the West.”

For the Western Fury, Villani averaged 260 runs per season, which including a career-best 362 at 51.71 in 2017-18. Her inclusion will boost Victoria’s batting, who won only two of six matches last summer, when Meg Lanning, the regular skipper, was sidelined with a shoulder surgery. Lanning, too, will return to lead Victoria this summer.

Western Australia are yet to name a new captain post Villani’s departure, but the head coach, Lisa Keightley lavished praise on Villani for her contribution.

“We want to thank Elyse for her contribution and leadership for the past three seasons. She has been an asset to our group and has helped in growing women’s cricket in WA.

“Younger players in the squad have developed and grown with the success we experienced last season, and we’re looking forward to seeing who steps up and makes their mark on the upcoming season,” she said.

Having had also skippered Perth Scorchers in the Women’s Big Bash League, it is yet to be confirmed where she will play in the fourth season of the tournament.

Victoria squad: Meg Lanning (c), Kristen Beams (vc), Makinley Blows, Elly Donald, Nicole Faltum, Emma Inglis, Alana King, Sophie Molineux, Courtney Neale, Rhiann O’Donnell, Chloe Rafferty, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Elyse Villani, Amy Vine, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

© Cricbuzz

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