Australia have opted to wait before naming Meg Lanning’s replacement as captain, with the choice of a full-time successor expected to be finalized before the next tour of India.
- Alyssa Healy remains favorite to be named Australian skipper after Meg Lanning retires
- A full-time successor will be named in the run-up to the upcoming multi-format tour of India
- New South Wales left-arm seamer Lauren Cheatle set to make Test debut after years of injury
Alyssa Healy remains the favorite to take on the role after Lanning announced her retirement last week, and is confident she will overcome a bite from her dog to play the Test in Mumbai on December 21 before the three ODIs and T20s.
Lanning’s absence in recent series means there are no significant changes to the batting, with Phoebe Litchfield slotted into the top order and all-rounder Heather Graham recalled to the squad.
But there is reward for left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle, who is within reach of making her Australian Test debut some four years after injuries derailed her international career.
Cheatle was one of two new faces in the Australian squad for the multi-format series in India, expected to be in the squad for next month’s Test before returning home.
Making her Australian debut in 2016 at the age of 17, Cheatle was once NSW’s youngest contracted player.
The 25-year-old has since undergone four separate shoulder reconstructions, battled a stress fracture in her back and battled a skin cancer diagnosis.
She last played international cricket in 2019, having been hit by a series of injuries since.
Cheatle has bounced back to his fitness and form over the past 12 months, taking 11 wickets during Australia A’s tour of England.
She has since tied for the WBBL lead for the Sydney Sixers with 19 for an average of 13.68, declaring last week that she was playing better than ever.
“I just feel a little more in rhythm, not just stopping and starting every three or four games,” Cheatle said.
“I think it shows that performance-wise I feel like I’m playing with a bit more pace and I’m not making stupid mistakes like I’ve done in the past.
“That also comes with experience. I mean, I’m 10 years into my career, and hopefully many more to come.
“I’m just excited to be on the park and trying to play my role the best I can.”
Cheatle’s selection edges out housemate Hannah Darlington, who has also overcome injuries to be in career-best form in the WBBL this year.
Australia’s litany of spinners means they haven’t had to add any extra tweaks for the multi-format series, with Ashleigh Gardner, Alana King, Jess Jonassen and Georgia Wareham all team regulars.
“I think we’ve already picked a team that suits Indian conditions,” coach Shelley Nitschke told AAP this week.
“We kind of have someone like Ash Gardner who is a spinner and also a top-class bat, and we always play a few spinners.
“It’s just a matter of when we get there, what that looks like and what we think are the best options for that particular game.”
Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (white ball only), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt , Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.
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