Alyssa Healy is hopeful Meg Lanning could return to cricket for the home series against West Indies this October and will gladly relinquish the captaincy if the star batter wants it back.
Lanning took indefinite leave for medical reasons in May, missing the women’s Ashes tour of England and the subsequent 50-over series against Ireland.
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The hiatus came shortly after she returned in January from a four-month mental-health break and cast fresh doubt over Lanning’s future in cricket.
But the 31-year-old has returned to the public eye in recent weeks, notably spending time with AFL side Collingwood and recommencing sponsorship appearances for Cricket Australia.
Lanning’s teammates had previously been reluctant to speak in detail about her absence.
Australian Women’s Cricket Captain Meg Lanning could return to cricket soon after taking indefinite leave since May. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
But on Tuesday, Healy gave the strongest indication yet that Lanning could return to play in the coming months.
Healy hoped that comeback could come in time for Australia’s white-ball series against West Indies that will feature three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals on the east coast in October.
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Returning for that series could also position Lanning to play for Melbourne Stars in the Women’s Big Bash League, which begins later that month.
“I’ve spoken to her in bits and pieces but I left her alone during the Ashes because it would have been tough for her to watch,” Healy said.
“I haven’t seen her just yet but from all reports she’s going really well. I look forward to hopefully seeing her back in Aussie colours in October against the Windies.
“I’m always hopeful (of her return), and I think the whole country is hopeful of that, but that’s a decision not for me. Hopefully she’s playing some cricket really soon.
“From all reports, she’s progressing really well for the summer.”
Alyssa Healy says she will happily hand the captaincy back to Meg Lanning on her return. Credit: Jono Searle/Getty Images
Lanning’s vice-captain since last October, Healy was named skipper for the Ashes but said at the time it was “bittersweet” to earn the captaincy in such circumstances.
She said she would gladly step aside if Lanning wanted to reclaim the captaincy on her return.
“Meg is the captain of the Australian women’s cricket team, and I’m fully aware of that fact,” Healy said.
“I’ve just been doing my job as best as I can for the group, but that’s a decision and a conversation for Meg to have.
“We want her to be fit and firing first and foremost, and if that means coming back and taking charge of the team then I’ll happily step aside and support her in the best way I know how.”
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