Elyse Villani has been given the license to be Elyse Villani, and the Australian batter couldn’t be happier.
Once seen as a specialist opener, the powerful right-hander’s role in the Australian team continues to evolve.
She’s now more often found in the middle-order, an experienced player capable of taking the game on, no matter the situation and exemplifying the ‘fearless’ mantra the world’s No.1 ranked team are determined to live by.
Knowing exactly what her role is, being given a license to attack – and knowing she has the backing of coach Matthew Mott should things go pear-shaped – have been key to Villani’s confidence as she adapts to her latest role.
"I’ve had plenty of discussions with Motty and he sees me as attacking batter and that's something that I'm comfortable doing, so there's no use in trying to bat any differently," Villani told cricket.com.au before joining her teammates in Brisbane for a pre-Ashes camp last month.
"I'm better off batting to my strengths and trying to make that as strong as possible.
"I think role clarity has been really important to the team throughout the last 18 months. Motty, Meg (Lanning) and Rach (Haynes) have been really clear with the players from an individual point of view, but also from a team perspective as well.
"They’re making sure that as a team we’re buying into an aggressive brand of cricket and as individuals, we’re also buying into our own aggressive plans as well, which will look slightly different for each batter.
"I think it’s just about committing to a style of play that you want to as a batter and making sure that that's not always going to work out, but if you're committed to it and you're working on it and you're approaching batting the same way every single time you're going out to bat, then you're probably going to be more successful than not."
Building on that mindset is something Villani is focusing on as she prepares for Australia’s upcoming Ashes campaign in England.
"I’ve had a pretty big think about my batting and just being really clear on – not picking apart my whole game – but just focusing on a couple of simple things that hopefully will improve the rest of my game.
"Making sure I'm starting well at the crease and looking to remain really positive and aggressive from ball one, so it’s been more of a focus on my mindset and how I go about batting."
The Ashes rivals will meet in three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is in the multi-format, points-based series in the United Kingdom, but Villani can’t see much changing for her between the formats should she be selected.
"I think for me personally I'm better off just being really clear on the way that I want to play and knowing that as an Australian cricket team, we want to be aggressive in any format,” she said.
"So if I can be really clear on that, then knowing that if I get an opportunity to play any other formats that's going to be good enough.
Australia’s Ashes squad will be revealed early next month, ahead of their departure for the UK on June 21.
There, they’ll have a week of training and warm-up matches in Loughborough to acclimatise to the local conditions ahead of the opening ODI on July 2 in Leicester.
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
First ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 2
Second ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 4
Third ODI St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, July 7
First T20 County Ground, Chelmsford, July 26
Second T20 The County Ground, Hove, July 28
Third T20 Bristol County Ground, Bristol, July 31
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins