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Alyssa Healy to lead in five-match T20I series against India next month

Melbourne, Nov 22 (IANS) Alyssa Healy will continue to lead the Australian women’s team in the absence of Meg Lanning, while Tahlia McGrath will be her deputy for the five-match T20I series against India in Mumbai next month.

The teams will play two matches at the DY Patil Stadium followed up by three at Brabourne Stadium.

Young Phoebe Litchfield and former Ireland international Kim Garth have also secured a place on the tour of India, with all-rounder Heather Graham earning another call-up. McGrath stands in as vice-captain after the retirement of Rachael Haynes in the 15-member squad.

“These five matches form an important part of the team’s preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup in South Africa as well as providing an opportunity for some players to gain some experience in Indian conditions,” Australia’s Head of Performance (Women’s Cricket) and National Selector, Shawn Flegler was quoted as saying by ICC.

“India will be a good test, they’re a strong side and the two teams have had some good battles in recent times.

“Without Meg and Rachael, this series will provide opportunities for players particularly in the top order, so we’re looking forward to seeing who puts their hand up.”

Left-hander Litchfield has long been touted as an Australian representative, bursting onto the scene with a half-century in just her second domestic T20 game as a 16-year-old in 2019. The now-19-year-old is the likely long-term replacement to the retiring Haynes, and Flegler says it’s her evolution in 2022 that solidified her selection.

“We’ve had an eye on Phoebe for a while and she’s really taken her game to the next level this summer. She’s made her mark at the top of the order for the Sydney Thunder and we’re looking forward to seeing what she can do in Australian colours.”

Having last represented Ireland in 2019, Garth has permanent residency in Australia and now qualifies to play for the country, and has impressed at domestic level in the WBBL. The right-armer is a consistent performer in the competition, taking 60 wickets in 61 matches at an economy of just 6.39.

“Kim’s another who’s been in our thinking,” Flegler continued. “She’s had a couple of strong seasons with the ball and adds extra depth to our pace bowling stocks.”

The opening match of the series will be played on December 9.

Squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland.

1st T20I: December 9, DY Patil Stadium; 2nd T20I: December 11, DY Patil Stadium; 3rd T20I: December 14, Brabourne Stadium; 4th T20I: December 17, Brabourne Stadium; 5th T20I: December 20, Brabourne Stadium.

–IANS

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