AUS vs IND WT20Is – Alyssa Healy hints at a return for Meg Lanning from her indefinite break

Healy will lead the team for the five-match series starting on December 9 in what is effectively a lead-up to the T20 World Cup in February. Regular captain Lanning opted to take an indefinite break following Australia’s Commonwealth Games title win, while vice-captain Rachael Haynes announced her retirement from international and state cricket in September.

Weighing up taking the role, having at times been reluctant, Healy consulted with confidants before breaking the news to Lanning.

“She [Lanning] was really chuffed. I have been chatting to her, she is going really well and is looking forward to coming back at some point,” Healy told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s really pleasing for us as a team that hopefully, she will be back around the group.

“I actually wasn’t sure if I was the right person to do it or if they were looking to the future. I consulted with a few people outside of the game who suggested I was and maybe it was the right time for me to take an opportunity like this. Once that sunk in it was more excitement and nerves than anything else.”

Healy, who has experience captaining in state cricket and the WBBL, revealed business executive Christine McLaughlin played a key role in her decision.

“She actually rang me the night before Flegs [national selector Shawn Flegler] did and asked me why I wasn’t putting my hand up for selection and why I wasn’t coming out and telling everyone I wanted to do it.

“Because it hadn’t crossed my mind. But to speak to someone like that who has been so successful in a corporate sector….to have someone like that in my corner, it was like, why not? Let’s do it. “

Looking towards the future, star allrounder Tahlia McGrath was named vice-captain to cap a stunning ascension after missing out on Australia’s T20 World Cup triumph in 2020.

“We’ve got two new leaders in the side, so naturally I think you’re going to put your own mark on that,” Healy said. “T-Mac [McGrath] and I will have a chat and see what we want to do. I really just think it’s about keeping the same sort of values ​​that have been created over the last few years and adding a touch of our own flair.

“If Meg comes back and decides that she wants to keep skipping then we’ll slot back into those roles and do what we have been doing. Naturally, we are going to do things a bit differently so it’ll look and feel a bit different.”

Having needed to “blatantly” lie to those around her, knowing for some time she would take the captaincy before it became official, Healy and partner Mitchell Starc were re-evaluating their future plans.

“Hey [Starc] laughs that I’ve changed my mind three or four times already. I just seemingly keep getting these opportunities that sort of reinvigorate me and my cricket,” Healy said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to get another one of these opportunities that will potentially push me to better myself as a cricketer and keep pushing me to be a part of this team. I’ve been lucky that these opportunities have come along, but I’ll continue to reassess.”

Healy’s immediate attention turns to Asia Cup champions India in what looms as a “baptism of fire” as she juggles captaincy, keeping and opening the batting.

“It’s going to be absolutely chaotic, but I think the way that we’ve got a really great senior group around me to help in that regard on the field,” she said. “You’ve got the likes of JJ [Jess Jonassen] and Ellyse Perry who have been captaining WBBL – and Megan Schutt as well – to help on the field so I don’t have to keep doing as many shuttle runs. We’ve got a great group around me and I can’t wait to work with them.”

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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