Recently when the Australian squad for the Tour to the West Indies was announced, one that featured two uncapped players in Heather Graham and Erin Burns, a thought went out to one of the Southern Stars’ most formidable talents in the recent years.
That there was no mention of Elyse Villani in the squad threw up a pleasant surprise.
Moreover, the lingering afterthought regarding seeing a veteran in the Australian Women’s set-up carrying drinks throughout the Women’s Ashes contests did serve a bit worrying sign.
Whether one would see an accomplished batswoman, someone with an experience of starring in 99 international games, in the near future was what captured the mind.
But also that Villani- someone who’s featured in 34 ODIs and 62 T20s- is only approaching 30 did serve valid optimism regarding the right-hander mounting a comeback sometime in the future.
The biggest stage in Women’s cricket, the World T20 or the T20 World Cup as it’s called nowadays is only a few months away.
That it will be played Down Under, in Elyse Villani-land ripens the prospect to see the dashing right-hander mark a memorable return.
But where it stands at the moment, one doesn’t know if it is going to happen anytime soon.
And truth be told, there’s a logic behind the onerous struggle to be a consistent part of a fantastic cricketing set-up.
It’s a fact that to be part of a star-studded Australian line-up can be an exciting and daunting prospect at the same time.
One’s sure that none of the current heavyweights (as also the stars) in the squad such as Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, and even Ellyse Perry take their place for granted.
In that regard, it could be said that Elyse Villani’s valuable presence was served a bit of notice.
This is because specifically speaking where the past year and a half serve an example then the terrific top-order form of Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy did push the otherwise familiar top-order batswoman in Villani down the middle order.
As the stakes for consistency and excellent all-round fitness standards hit the peak, Villani- often a victim of hamstring injuries and similar concerns- was found wanting.
But that said, it doesn’t mean that the road to recovery and permanency in the Australian order seems unwalkable, even though it would be tasked with something of an uphill climb for the experienced scorer of over 1300 T20 runs and 15 fifties.
True to the unsaid golden thumb rule of mounting a comeback in national colors, there’s always the gateway through the domestic circuit. And one expects, Villani, a veteran for Victoria to reconstruct the formative stages of a possible second wind for the Southern Stars by sweating it out in the Women’s National Cricket League.
Her contributions for Victoria will certainly uphold her case for a possible return to the bright golden yellow jersey, something everyone cherishes adorning.
Moreover, the T20 turnout for the Melbourne Stars in the celebrated Women’s Big Bash League shall await something special from a batswoman who happens to score freely and consistently in the sport’s briefest format.
While the comeback trail may be at some distance, Villani, who’s confessed to taking this episode as no more than a ‘learning curve’ and a ‘mini break-up,’ will surely be keen to bounce back stronger and should rally herself back to return to a stable to which she contributes diligently.