Lanning and Australia back to T20 familiarity as India series set for exciting finish

Australian captain Meg Lanning and Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur pose with the trophy ahead of the T20 matches at Metricon Stadium. Image: cricket.com.au

Australian captain Meg Lanning is hoping to find the right balance in what will be an all-rounder-heavy XI when Australia returns to the format they are most comfortable with after a tough test match, as Australia and India commence the T20 leg of the Multi-format series tomorrow night on the Gold Coast.

The jostling for positions is a welcome relief for Lanning, who is confident a couple of her multi-skilled young stars can make an impact with the bat and ball.

As always, there is a logjam for positions for bowling all-rounder positions in the middle to lower order, with Tahlia McGrath, Annabel Sutherland, and Nicola Carey all pressing hard for positions to be included.

Speaking to the media ahead of the first T20 on Thursday, Lanning said the Australians will look to make changes throughout the three matches after a heavy workload of the young bowlers in the One-Day leg and Test Match in the series.

“There’ll be a couple of changes I think,” Lanning said to reporters at Metricon Stadium.

“It’s been spoken about Tayla (Valeminck) being available which is really exciting, so we’ll have a look at (the wicket) and see if that makes an impact on selection in terms of bowling”

Test debutants Stella Campbell and Darcie Brown are likely to be rested for the opening game but speedster Tayla Vlaeminck is expected to play. Hannah Darlington is also in the frame to play, as is Maitlan Brown who is vying for her maiden international cap.

Lanning, Coach Matthew Mott, and head selector Shawn Fegler also face a critical decision in allocating a middle-order spot in the absence of veteran Rachael Haynes.

Haynes, who opens the batting in One-Day cricket usually, slides down to the middle order in T20 cricket. Haynes will miss the T20 series after injuring her hamstring in the third One Day International and has returned home for the birth of her first child.

Lanning said there were a number of options that were being considered.

“We’ve chatted a little bit at selection about whether we want to stick with that specialist batter or whether we feel like we’ve got enough coverage with those allrounders.

“I certainly think both of those options could work, but the depth within our allrounders is incredible, really – there’s a lot of really good batting that we haven’t seen at this level just because of the strength of our top order, so potentially we could utilise that a little bit more in this series.

“Balance is important and so is having variety with the ball, and making sure we match that up with the conditions is crucial as well.

“We feel like we’ve got really good depth in all those areas, we just need to make sure we get those selections right.”

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Indian will lose experienced duo Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami for the T20 matches but will re-gain T20 captain and star batter Harmanpreet Kaur who is finally fit after a thumb injury has ruled her out of the opening matches of the tour.

Having dominated all 4 days of the test match despite the draw and after winning the third ODI and coming within a no-ball of winning the second, India is confident they can overturn a 6-4 point deficit and leave Australia with a series win.

“We have a great opportunity to win the three T20s then our job will be done,” Kaur said

It will be the first T20 match the two countries have played against each other since the World Cup final in front of eighty-five thousand people at the MCG.

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