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Lanning ruled out of West Indies series but Healy and Perry return

Lanning has returned to training but it not yet cleared to play and looks set to return via domestic cricket

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
07-Sep-2023
Meg Lanning walks out to field, South Africa vs Australia, Women's T20 World Cup, Final, Cape Town, February 26, 2023

Meg Lanning has not played for Australia since February  •  ICC/Getty Images

Meg Lanning has been ruled out of the upcoming T20I and ODI home series against West Indies. She is instead set to make a gradual playing return via domestic cricket as she continues her recovery from an undisclosed medical issue.
Her name did not appear on the two squad lists Australia released on Friday, with Alyssa Healy returning as captain having recovered from the broken finger that kept her out of Australia's last ODI against Ireland in August and the women's Hundred. Ellyse Perry also missed the last ODI against Ireland and the Hundred because of a knee injury, but has been named to return.
Lanning has not played for Australia since the T20 World Cup in South Africa in February and has not played at all since the WPL in March after she was ruled out of the UK tour. She has returned to training with Victoria in recent weeks and travelled on a pre-season trip to Queensland's Sunshine Coast with her state team.
Healy had hoped Lanning would be ready to play against West Indies in October.
Australia team doctor Pip Inge confirmed that no date has been set for Lanning's return, but it is likely to be in domestic cricket. "Meg is progressing well but remains unavailable for competitive cricket," Inge said. "No date has been set for Meg's return to play, however, we anticipate a gradual return through domestic cricket.
"CA medical staff will continue to work closely with Meg and an update on her availability will be provided in due course."
CA's national selector Shawn Flegler confirmed that Lanning remained firmly in Australia's plans with the next international series coming in December in India, after the WBBL, but they were going to be patient with her return.
"We're hopeful that she'll come through domestic cricket first up and we'll see how things progress through there," Flegler said. "She was up at the Sunshine Coast and we caught up there. She's progressing well. Just part of that return-to-play plan, we're keen for her to come back through domestic cricket first and see how she goes with that but she's going well, Meg. Very hopeful that she's back on deck at some point during the summer for Australia."
"We just want to make sure we go through the right return-to-play process for Meg. We're respectful of how she's going with that and respect of the medical staff. Hopefully, start off with domestic stuff and we'll just keep assessing that as she goes along"
Shawn Flegler on Meg Lanning
The first T20I against West Indies will be played at North Sydney Oval on October 1. The two sides play three T20Is in five days before starting the ODI series on October 8 in Brisbane with the final two matches on October 12 and 14 in Melbourne.
Victoria have six WNCL games on September 26, 28, October 10, 12, 19 and 21 before the WBBL begins on October 19, with Lanning's Melbourne Stars playing on opening night, which will be the first of 14 matches for Stars not including finals. Following the WBBL's completion at the end of November, Australia will travel to India for a multi-format series, which includes a day-night pink ball Test match. Lanning's availability for the tour of India remains unclear.
"We'll just take it each day as it comes essentially," Flegler said. "We just want to make sure we go through the right return-to-play process for Meg. We're respectful of how she's going with that and respect of the medical staff. Hopefully, start off with domestic stuff and we'll just keep assessing that as she goes along. I can't say too much more at this stage, unfortunately."
He also confirmed Healy and Perry would both play in the WNCL prior to the West Indies series and was pleased that Healy could return as captain after Tahlia McGrath led Australia in the last game in Ireland.
"Alyssa and Ellyse are on track in their return-to-play programs," Flegler said. "Both are well placed to take part in Women's National Cricket League matches later this month and are expected to be fully available for the upcoming international series.
"Alyssa embraced the added challenge of captaincy during the Ashes and will again lead the team in Meg's absence. We're fortunate to have plenty of international experience and strong leaders within the squad and know she will be well supported."
There were no major surprises in the squads with just the one change between the T20I and ODI group for each series. Grace Harris has been picked for the T20Is only with legspinner Alana King left out. King will return in Harris' place for the ODI series.
Australian women's T20I squad vs West Indies: Alyssa Healy (capt, wk), Tahlia McGrath (vice-capt), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
Australian women's ODI squad vs West Indies: Alyssa Healy (capt, wk), Tahlia McGrath (vice-capt), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo