Alyssa Healy steps up to captain’s plate as Meg Lanning stays on sidelines

Alyssa Healy is set to be locked in as Australian captain this week, as Meg Lanning continues her extended break away from the game.

As Cricket Australia prepares to announce its side to tour India, News Corp understands Lanning is still on an extended break from the game and will not be named.

Healy will be announced as Australian captain in Lanning’s absence, a tremendous honour for one of the game’s most successful international cricketers.

Already vice-captain of the national side, Healy will lead Australia for as long as Lanning remains on an indefinite leave of absence.

While Healy would not be drawn on her role for the Indian tour, with the squad not named until later this week, she does believe the clash with Australia’s greatest recent white-ball rivals presents the chance to reset goals after an incredibly successful international cycle during the past four years.

“It’s just an amazing group of women at the moment that have done some really amazing things over the last … four years,” Healy said.

“It’s almost an opportunity with Rachael Haynes leaving and Meg’s status a little bit up in the air. It’s a nice little opportunity for us to reset and go — what are our challenges coming next and where do we want to place ourselves moving forward and how we want to play.

“We still don’t know quite what Meg’s doing just yet, so for me I’m still vice-captain and I’ll play my role, whatever that might be, over in India.

“If the opportunity comes about to lead, then I’ll grab it with both hands and really enjoy that opportunity.”

Australia and India have built an incredible rivalry in the women’s game recently, most notably in T20 cricket.

The two nations faced off in both the 2020 T20 World Cup final and this year’s Commonwealth Games decider, with the Aussies coming out on top on both occasions.

“They’re probably one of the strongest white-ball teams going around and we seem to come up against one another quite a lot in — whether it be in ICC events or even the Comm Games final earlier this year as well,” Healy said.

“It is becoming one of the big rivalries in the sport, which is really cool, and we seem to manage to get over the top of them in the big moments.

“But I’ve got no doubt that that’ll change at some point.”

With five games planned for next month, there’s likely to be plenty of ebb and flow, especially among players that know each other’s games so well, having played together in the WBBL and England’s The Hundred. The inaugural women’s IPL is rumoured to be on the cards early next year.

“They’re a really good side. I hesitate to use the words up-and-coming because I think everyone knows how good they are, although I’m not sure if they quite know how good they are yet — which is kind of scary for everybody else in the world,” Healy said.

“But I think with a five-match series, especially the T20 format, I’ve got no doubt that there’ll be five tough games, five really good contests. And obviously with the next 50-over World Cup in India, in 2025, it’s a great opportunity for us to get over there and play in those conditions and potentially take some young kids over there to get some experience as well.”

India has been a happy hunting ground for Healy, who posted her first international century there and has thrived in the conditions.

And she says it can be a galvanising tour for an Australian group that is starting to undergo some generational change.

“A tour of the subcontinent is actually a really cool one to be involved with … they’re some of the memories that will stick with you.

“It’s always a great place to go on tour, they look after you beautifully and you always get access to some great facilities, so all the girls are really excited to get out there.”

Originally published as Alyssa Healy steps up to captain’s plate as Meg Lanning to stay on sidelines for India tour

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