Meg Lanning returns to captain Australia against Pakistan

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Meg Lanning will return to captain Australia after her extended break from the game in the ODI series against Pakistan next month and is likely to be available for the T20 World Cup in February.
However, Alyssa Healy, who recently took over the captaincy for the tour of India, will miss the series after suffering a calf strain in Mumbai. Beth Mooney will take the keeping gloves.

Lanning quit after the Commonwealth Games in August for personal reasons, having missed the WBBL and the five T20Is in India.

Shortly after the squad was announced, Lanning posted on Instagram about her experiences over the past five months.

“Sometimes you just have to stop, step back and breathe,” she wrote. “Definitely what I needed. The last 6 months have taught me a lot. I have learned a lot 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 people who care about you can really make tough times easier.” It’s okay to ask for help and accept that you don’t have everything under control.

“After enjoying some time and space, I feel refreshed and ready to play the game I love with the teams I love. It’s such an exciting time for sport and I’m looking forward to it.” Can’t wait to be a part!”

National selector Shaun Flegler said: “Meg brings a lot both on and off the field, and it is a pleasure to welcome her back at such a crucial time after just over a month at the T20 World Cup. While we welcome Meg back, Alyssa may not have recovered from her calf injury in time, giving Beth the opportunity to take the glove in her absence.

Jess Jonassen has been included but will have to prove his fitness due to 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 in the final T20I in India following Healy’s injury, will continue as vice-captain.

Australia will have a new-look opening pair with Healy and the retired Rachael Haynes in the team that will play the ODI World Cup final against England in April.

Three ODIs against Pakistan will be played on January 16, 18 and 21, with the first two matches at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane and the last match at the North Sydney Oval. This will be followed by three T20 matches on January 24, 26 and 29, after which the teams will leave for South Africa for the World Cup.

Australia squad for Pakistan ODI Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath, D’Arcy Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen (subject to fitness), Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland

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