New Melbourne Stars skipper Kristen Beams hopes a new-look line-up of internationals will help the club reach the Rebel WBBL finals for the first time this summer.
Beams has replaced Meg Lanning in charge of the Stars for WBBL|03, after the injured Australian captain’s move west to the Perth Scorchers.
She’ll be in charge of a host of news faces this season, with the leg-spinner the only returning international player from the club’s WBBL|02 roster.
Beams will be joined by former Australian teammate Erin Osborne, South Africans Mignon du Preez – who played for the Stars in the inaugural Big Bash season – and Lizelle Lee, and England allrounder Georgia Elwiss.
They replace Lanning, former Australia batter Jess Duffin – who has signed with the Renegades - England’s Nat Sciver and New Zealand spinner Morna Neilsen.
Lanning’s loss is a particularly big one, with the 25-year-old the WBBL’s leading run scorer in both seasons to date, but Beams believes it’s an opportunity for other players to step up and take responsibility.
“It’s an opportunity for a lot of players to come in and show what they’re capable of,” Beams told cricket.com.au.
“We need an even contribution across that team to be successful in the Big Bash.
“When everyone has a bit of skin in the game and everyone knows they have to play really well, that brings out the best in teams.
“I’m certainly hoping I can support every one of those girls to do that.”
Big-hitting Protea Lee and England’s Georgia Elwiss will appear in the WBBL for the first time this summer.
Beams is familiar with Lee’s devastating potential, having witnessed the 79-ball 102 she scored against Australia in Sydney last summer.
The 32-year-old is also looking forward to seeing the impact Elwiss can have on the competition after playing under the allrounder at Loughborough Lightning in England’s domestic Super League in August.
“Georgia Elwiss was my skipper at Loughbourugh and that’s one of the cool things about both competitions, I can get over there and be a part of their competition where she led that team really well.
“And then I can say, ‘I want her on my team’ and get her across to Starts, which is something really cool.”
Having skippered one match in WBBL|02 when Lanning was sidelined by a hamstring concern, Beams hopes to continue her 100 per cent winning record now she has taken over the gig full-time.
“It was pretty funny, I didn’t know I was going to be skipper for that game until I walked out with the mitt and they said, ‘You better put your uniform on because Meg’s got a bad hammy and you’re going to have to captain,” Beams, who is also standing in as Victoria captain this summer while regular skipper Lanning is sidelined by shoulder surgery, said.
“That was actually a nice way of being thrown into it.
“I really enjoyed it and I thought to myself afterwards, ‘wow, I never thought I’d get to captain a side and I did it here in the big bash’.
“I’ve captained more as a younger player playing for Tasmania and it’s something I haven’t had to do so much recently having such an amazing captain in Meg and playing most of my cricket with her.”
The Stars have confirmed all but two spots on their WBBL|03 roster. They begin their season against the Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on December 9.