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Lanning set for World Cup leadership test

By AAP Newswire

Meg Lanning's maturity as a 16-year-old Victorian rookie told former Australian star Mel Jones she had the composure to handle any kind of pressure.

Over the next month that will be tested with Australian captain Lanning likely to face more pressure than any predecessor as she leads her team in the Women's Twenty20 World Cup on home soil.

Defending champions Australia enter the tournament as favourites but under a spotlight few female teams have felt before in this country.

Officials are pushing for a sold-out final at the MCG, hopeful, even expectant, that Australia will be there, but Lanning's team know one loss in a chaotic schedule could spell disaster.

The captain will shoulder the brunt of that pressure.

Fortunately 27-year-old Lanning is known as the kind of cool head needed in difficult times.

"She's always been a lover of the game," said Jones, whose last season at Victoria was Lanning's first.

"She was always about taking in all the information, and computing it all and putting it into her game ... She was very measured.

"I think what it has allowed her to do now is relax a little more at the back end of her career. To enjoy the space she has found herself in.

"She has prepared herself well without even realising she is doing it."

Jones has been impressed by Australia's efforts to embrace the pressure, led by Lanning and coach Matthew Mott.

In Lanning she sees a captain who has evolved significantly since being handed the reins at age 21.

"That person I spoke about as a youngster probably became more focused and stand-offish," Jones said.

"To make sure she got things right, so the way to do that was take a serious approach to it all."

She lists Australia's last big home tournament - the 2017-18 Ashes - as a turning point for Lanning.

The star bat missed it through injury, but took lessons from that summer that will come in handy from Friday's tournament opener against India.

"You can wallow in self pity, or you can look at it as a chance to enhance your leadership," Jones said of Lanning's injury.

"She did a lot with Cricket Victoria people, and she utilised that time really well.

"For her to sit back allowed her to see the team and the people in the side very closely.

"That intel for her as a person and captain was invaluable."