Australia has opted to wait before naming Meg Lanning’s replacement as captain, with a full-time successor to be finalised before the upcoming tour of India.
- Alyssa Healy remains favourite to be named Australia skipper after Meg Lanning’s retirement
- A full-time successor will be named closer to the upcoming multi-format tour of India
- New South Wales left arm seamer Lauren Cheatle is in line to make a Test debut after years of injuries
Alyssa Healy remains favourite to take on the role after Lanning announced her retirement last week, and is confident she will overcome a bite from her dog to play in the Test in Mumbai on December 21 before the three ODIs and T20s.
Lanning’s absence in recent series means there are no significant changes in the batting with Phoebe Litchfield having slotted into the top order and all-rounder Heather Graham recalled to the group.
But there is a reward for left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle, who is within touching distance of an Australian Test debut some four years after injuries derailed her international career.
Cheatle was one of two new faces in Australia’s squad for the multi-format series in India, slated to be part of the group for next month’s Test before returning home.
Making her Australia debut in 2016 as a 17-year-old, Cheatle was once NSW’s youngest ever contracted player.
The 25-year-old has since undergone four separate shoulder reconstructions, battled a stress fracture in her back and fought off a skin cancer diagnosis.
She last played international cricket in 2019, having been struck down by a spate of injuries since.
Cheatle has rebounded to find fitness and form over the past 12 months though, taking 11 wickets on the Australia A tour of England.
She has since been the equal-leading wicket-taker in the WBBL for the Sydney Sixers with 19 at an average of 13.68, declaring last week she was bowling better than ever.
“I just feel a bit more in rhythm, not just stopping and starting every three or four games,” Cheatle said.
“I think that shows performance wise I feel like I’m bowling with a bit more rhythm and I’m not making silly errors that I may have done in the past.
“That also comes with experience. I mean, I’m 10 years into my career, hopefully with many more to come.
“I’m just pumped to be on the park and trying to do my role as best as I can.”
Cheatle’s selection comes ahead of housemate Hannah Darlington, who has also overcome injuries to be in career-best form in the WBBL this year.
Australia’s litany of spinners means they have not had to add extra tweakers for the multi-format series, with Ashleigh Gardner, Alana King, Jess Jonassen and Georgia Wareham all regulars in the squad.
“I think we already picked a squad that suits Indian conditions,” coach Shelley Nitschke told AAP this week.
“We’ve got sort of someone like Ash Gardner who’s a spinner and also a top-order bat, and we always play a few spinners.
“It’s just a matter of when we get there what it looks like and what we think that the best options are for that particular game.”
Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (white-ball only), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.
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