Australia’s women’s team will have its long-time captain back for the one-day international series against Pakistan next month, with Meg Lanning returning from a five-month break from the game.
- Meg Lanning took a break from the game for “personal reasons” after a busy 2022
- Vice-captain Alyssa Healy has been ruled out with a calf injury
- There is a women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in February and an away Ashes series in June and July
After winning Commonwealth Games gold with Australia in August, hot on the heels of an ODI World Cup victory, Lanning stepped away from the game indefinitely for “personal reasons”.
“Meg’s all in — she’s back. Her words are she’s not just coming back to make up the numbers, she’s back to dominate. And when those words came out of her mouth it was pretty nice to hear,” selector Shawn Flegler said.
“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.”
Since taking over the captaincy of the national side as a 21-year-old in 2014, Lanning has been one of Australia’s most reliable batters and leaders.
But after the Commonwealth Games final in August, and with a T20 World Cup and Ashes tour on the schedule for 2023, the 30-year-old announced she would take a break from the game.
“Obviously she’s taken this time to work out what’s really important for her and things she needs to do to manage herself,” Flegler said.
“It’s a tough gig being the Australian captain and she’s done it for a long time and just really pleased she’s refreshed and she’s happy and knows what she wants to do.
“What a great inclusion for the Australian women’s team. It’s great to have her back.”
Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy and Tahlia McGrath have stepped into the captaincy role in her absence, but Cricket Australia announced Lanning would return for three ODIs to be played against Pakistan from January 16-21.
Healy has been ruled out with a right calf strain suffered in the recent series in India, meaning McGrath will take over as Lanning’s vice-captain against Pakistan.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into it in the background and a lot of support has been provided to Meg. But a lot of credit to her as well – she was the one who put up her hand and said she needed a break,” Flegler said.
“We are in a position to provide that support and I would like to think that we’d do that for anyone who’s struggling or needs a break, and we have done that over the past few years as well.
“It’s an environment that we’ve wanted to create for players to feel comfortable to put their hand up and say they need a break and feel supported and ready to come back when they can.”
The ODI series will be followed by three T20s against Pakistan, but the squad for those games is yet to be announced.
The T20 World Cup starts in South Africa in February, with Australia the defending champion after their victory over India in the final at the MCG in March 2020.