Australia's best national team counts down to T20 World Cup

With 100 days to go until the event in Australia the hosts are looking forward to what could be a defining moment

Daniel Brettig
Daniel Brettig
Tammy Beaumont, Lea Tahuhu, Georgia Wareham, Danni Wyatt and Sophie Molineux mark 100 days until the T20 World Cup  •  Getty Images

Tammy Beaumont, Lea Tahuhu, Georgia Wareham, Danni Wyatt and Sophie Molineux mark 100 days until the T20 World Cup  •  Getty Images

Australia's world beating women's team have been dubbed the country's best national side in any sport as they enter the final 100 days before the start of a T20 World Cup that is hoped will be crowned with a crowd of more than 90,000 for the final at the MCG in March next year.
As T20 world champions at four of the six tournaments and at least finalists in every event since 2010, Australia have a record the envy of all other national sporting combinations, be it the men's cricket team, the Socceroos, the Wallabies (rugby union), Boomers (men's basketball), Opals (women's basketball), Diamonds (netball), Kookaburras (men's hockey) or Hockeyroos (women's).
In February and March they will in many ways be seeking a moment to recognise this greatness on home soil, but also to break another barrier for women's sport in terms of audience size and connection to the Australian public. Australia's new head of national teams, Ben Oliver, had little hesitation labelling them the best national side down under.
"The Australian women's team are currently leading the way and they're inspirational in the way that they're playing the game," Oliver told ESPNcricinfo. "So from that perspective absolutely delighted with the way they're leading the game globally, but also I think leading sport in Australia and so we should be incredibly proud of our players and our team.
"We've got an exciting opportunity in the T20 World Cup coming up in Australia and I'm very hopeful our team will do well in that tournament and really inspire a new generation of girls to take up the game."
On Wednesday it was also revealed that the global pop star Katy Perry would headline entertainment at the final, an event that the side captained by Meg Lanning will be making no apologies about being ruthless in getting to. Having debuted for Australia as far back as 2011, Lanning can see the looming event not only as a likely high point of many careers, but also as a chance to underline how steady, far-sighted investment in the women's program and a proactive move towards full professionalism can pay dividends for other sports also.
"I hope it is going to be the moment of our careers," Lanning said in Perth. "It's something you look forward to, playing in front of 93,000 at the MCG, I've been in the crowd watching big games, but to think potentially we could be out in the middle with all those fans there, it's certainly a very exciting prospect.
"It has always seemed a long way away, but it's certainly coming up very quickly. A home World Cup is an opportunity we don't get very often at all, and we're obviously in a good spot in Australian cricket, we've had some success the last few months, but World Cups are extremely hard to win and we know we're going to put in a lot of hard work to get the result that we want. But hopefully it's a great event, it's being built up massively, we're excited to be a part of it.
"I've been playing cricket for Australia now for close to 10 years and it's moved along very quickly, and to think there could be massive crowds and we'll be playing in front of them is very exciting, the group's looking forward to it, and I think it just shows where women's cricket and women's sport is at. It has become a part of Australia, it's not just men's sport anymore, it's part of the landscape and hopefully this World Cup shows that."
There has been plenty of recent focus on upon what looks to be a growing gap between Australia's women and the rest of the world, and it is a leading position that Oliver, having inherited this year, is not eager to relinquish.
"I feel very fortunate to come in at a time where we've got this real opportunity in the game to lead a real shift in sport and women's sport across the country and our Australian team's doing that," he said. "In response to that, what I'm sensing is some of the other countries globally are also inspired by that in a strange way and are also starting to really look at how they can develop their women's teams and programs.
"I don't think we should ever be complacent about where we sit, and we shouldn't be apologetic about leading the way and trying to inspire future generations of girls to take up the game and take it to a place it's never been. I'm very mindful the Australian team is leading the way at the moment, but I suspect some other countries globally will increasingly be very organised around their women's teams and programs."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig