Lanning makes cricket return, misses West Indies series

Australia captain Meg Lanning has begun her return to cricket, playing her first game since missing the Ashes in a warm-up match between NSW and Victoria.

Lanning was on Friday not included in Australia's squad for next month's Twenty20 and one-day international series against West Indies.

Alyssa Healy, who along with Ellyse Perry (knee) is expected to overcome injury to feature in the six matches, will captain the side.

The squad is largely unchanged from the one that retained the Ashes in England in July.

It is still missing Lanning, who was ruled out of that tour for unspecified medical reasons.

Lanning attended a Cricket Victoria camp on the Sunshine Coast last week and played in one of three games against NSW.

Victoria have six Women's National Cricket League matches to open the summer, before the entire Women's Big Bash League is played ahead of Australia's multi-format tour of India in December and January.

Chief selector Shawn Flegler said he expected Lanning to return in one of those competitions.

"That's the plan. We're hopeful she will come through domestic cricket first up and see how things progress," Flegler said.

"She was up at the Sunshine Coast and I caught up with her there. She's progressing well, just part of that return-to-play plan.

"She's going well, Meg. We're very hopeful that she's back on deck at some point during the summer for Australia."

Lanning's absence means Healy will carry on as captain after recovering from fractured fingers, with Tahlia McGrath her deputy.

Australia missed Lanning's batting in England, as they were beaten in four of the six white-ball games but retained the Ashes on a points draw.

But there are no wholesale changes to the squad ahead of the first T20 against West Indies at North Sydney Oval on October 1.

"It was a great challenge throughout the Ashes. We didn't play at our best and England certainly played very well," Flegler said.

"We reviewed that series, we still think we've got a great group of players who can take us through to the T20 World Cup (in Bangladesh next year).

"We want to give these players an opportunity to keep pushing the game style we want to play."


Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris*, Jess Jonassen, Alana King*, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

*Harris will feature in T20s only; King in the ODIs.

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