Meg Lanning’s break from cricket is over with the international superstar declaring she’s “all in” after she was named in the Australian ODI squad to take on Pakistan on home soil next month, although Alyssa Healy will miss the series due to a calf injury.
Lanning hasn’t played for five months after she went on an indefinite break following a hectic schedule that included an Ashes series, 50-over World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.
There were whispers she could be nearing a return when she was spotted in the nets on Thursday, and the rumours were confirmed on Friday morning when she was named as captain to lead the 13-player squad.
“Meg is all in,” national selector Shawn Flegler said.
“Her words are that she’s not just coming back to make up the numbers; she’s back to dominate. When those words came out of her mouth, it was pretty nice to hear.
“Knowing the person she is and the preparation she’s put into her career, she’s not going to come back halfway. It’s all in for Meg.
“It’s been driven by Meg. We always hoped that she’d come back and play. It’s a great story that she’s had the time off and she feels refreshed and ready to come back.
“She’s taken this time out to work out what’s really important for her and the things she needs to do to manage herself.
“It’s a tough gig being the Australian captain and she’s done it for a long time, so we’re just really pleased that she’s refreshed, happy and knows what she wants to do.”
Lanning’s leadership and batting prowess are just what the Aussies need given stand-in skipper Healy will miss the series after she injured her calf in India, which means Tahlia McGrath will retain her role as vice-captain.
Young gun Phoebe Litchfield and former Irish bowler Kim Garth have both been picked and are in line to make their ODI debuts, but Jess Jonassen will need to overcome a hamstring injury if she wants to be considered for the first game on January 16.
Healy will have scans in Melbourne on Friday, but Flegler is hopeful that she’ll be able to return for the T20 portion of the Pakistan series.
“It’s not a great injury,” he said.
“They take a little bit to come back from, but we’re hopeful she’ll be back for the T20s. The World Cup is the target and that’s the main focus, but if she can get back and play in the T20s against Pakistan, then we’ll look to include her in that squad.
“Alyssa won’t have recovered from her calf injury in time, so that presents an opportunity for Beth (Mooney) to take the gloves in her absence.
“The Indian series allowed us to blood some new talent and it’s pleasing to be able to retain Kim and Phoebe for this series.
“Heather Graham, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Grace Harris unfortunately miss out; however, they all remain in contention for selection for the T20 leg of the tour and T20 World Cup.”
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland.
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