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News

Lanning returns to captain Australia against Pakistan

Alyssa Healy will miss the ODIs with a calf injury; Kim Garth and Phoebe Litchfield both included

Meg Lanning will be back in action in January  •  Getty Images

Meg Lanning will be back in action in January  •  Getty Images

Meg Lanning will return to captain Australia in the ODI series against Pakistan next month following her extended break from the game and appears likely to be available for the T20 World Cup in February.
However, Alyssa Healy, who took over the captaincy for the recent tour of India, will miss the series following the calf strain she picked up in Mumbai. Beth Mooney will take the keeping gloves.
Lanning stepped away following the Commonwealth Games in August for personal reasons, missing the WBBL and the five T20Is in India.
Shortly after the squad announcement, Lanning posted on Instagram about her experiences of the last five months.
"Sometimes you just have to hit pause, step back and take a breather," she wrote. "That's certainly what I needed. The past 6 months have taught me a lot. I've learnt so much about myself and who and what is important to me.
"I've always played my cards pretty close to my chest. This experience has given me a greater appreciation of how opening up and talking to the people that care about you really can make the tough times feel easier. It's ok to ask for help and admit that you don't have everything under control.
"Having enjoyed some time and space, I feel refreshed and ready to play the game that I love in teams that I love. It's such an exciting time for the game and I can't wait to be part of it!"
Shawn Flegler, the national selector, said: "Meg brings so much to the side both on and off the field, and it's pleasing to welcome her back at such an important time with the T20 World Cup just over a month away. While we welcome Meg back, Alyssa won't have recovered from her calf injury in time, so that presents an opportunity for Beth to take the gloves in her absence.
Jess Jonassen has been included but will need to prove her fitness having picking up a hamstring injury in India.
Kim Garth and Phoebe Litchfield have been retained from the T20I squad but Heather Graham, who took a hat-trick in the final match, Grace Harris and Amanda-Jade Wellington have been left out.
Tahlia McGrath, who captained the final T20I in India after Healy's injury, will continue as vice-captain.
Australia will have a new-look opening pair with Healy and the retired Rachael Haynes absent from the side that played the ODI World Cup final against England in April.
The three ODIs against Pakistan will take place on January 16, 18 and 21 with the first two matches at Allan Border Field in Brisbane and the last at North Sydney Oval. They are followed by three T20Is on January 24, 26 and 29 before the teams head to South Africa for the World Cup.
Australia squad for Pakistan ODIs Meg Lanning (capt), Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen (subject to fitness), Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland