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Healy and Brown named for India tour, Cheatle recalled, but no captain yet

Meg Lanning's successor to be named closer to the tour while Cheatle could make a Test debut in Mumbai

Alyssa Healy and Darcie Brown have been named in Australia's squad for the upcoming multi-format tour of India despite injury concerns, and left-arm seamer Lauren Cheatle has been recalled for the Test match, but a decision has not yet been made on who will be Meg Lanning's successor as captain.
The 16-player squad was announced just five days after Lanning's shock international retirement, bringing a close to her near decade reign as skipper during a golden era for Australian women's cricket.
A transition awaits with vice-captain Healy, who filled in during Lanning's absences over the past year, tipped as the frontrunner and she has put her hand up for the vacated role.
Australia's hierarchy has commenced a process to find Lanning's full-time replacement with an announcement to be made closer to the tour. The one-off Test - Australia's first in India since 1984 - starts on December 21 in Mumbai before three-match ODI and T20I series.
Healy played just one match this WBBL season before undergoing finger surgery after an accidental bite from her dog.
"Alyssa Healy's finger is healing but remains in a splint and our medical team are continuing to monitor her recovery closely," national selector Shawn Flegler said. "We're obviously very hopeful she will be available for the Test, but those decisions are still a while away."
Brown has been on the sidelines since suffering a hamstring injury against West Indies in the first ODI in Brisbane on October 8. She has been unavailable for defending WBBL champions Adelaide Strikers, but has returned to bowling and is set to be fit for the first Test.
Brown might share new-ball duties with returning left-arm quick Cheatle, who has not played for Australia since March 2019. Cheatle, who made her international debut as a 17-year-old in 2016, endured a torrid run with injuries, including four shoulder reconstructions in five years.
But she has won a spot in the squad on the back of a stellar WBBL season yielding 19 wickets from 10 games to spearhead Sydney Sixers.
"I just feel in a bit more in rhythm, not just stopping and starting every three or four games," Cheatle said a few days before the squad was named. "Think that shows performance-wise, feel like I'm in a bit more rhythm and not making silly errors that I may have done in the past.
"Think that also comes with experience. I'm 10 years into my career, hopefully with many more to come. I'm just pumped to be on the park and doing my role the best I can."
Cheatle, who was only named in the Test squad, produced an eye-catching performance with 11 wickets in five matches during the Australia A tour of England in June.
"Lauren has playing experience in India and provides another fast bowling option, particularly in regard to the Test match which is the format she has been selected for," Flegler said. "At this stage, we're planning for Lauren to return to Australia ahead of the white ball formats to play WNCL."
Australia's squad almost mirrors the line-up that drew the Ashes series in July. Top-order batter Phoebe Litchfield, 20, is likely to step up and fill the shoes of Lanning, while Australia's slew of star spinners were automatic selections and they loom as keys on expected turning surfaces.
The matches will be played across two grounds in Mumbai.
"A multi-format series against India in India is exciting and presents a huge challenge for our group," Flegler said. "Most of our players, through last December's bilateral series or the WPL, have played cricket in Mumbai over the past 12 months and have experienced the conditions.
"We'll have an opportunity to acclimatise to the conditions and our preparation in Mumbai will include a warm-up match against a local opposition."
Australia squad: Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (T20), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth