Australia has named a 15-member squad for the five T20Is to be played in India in December, with Alyssa Healy named the skipper of the side for the first time in her career. Youngster Tahlia McGrath, who has emerged as an integral part of the team since her debut, will serve as Healy's deputy.
Australia women will have a new leader in charge in the form of Alyssa Healy when they travel to India in December for a series of five ODIs, scheduled to begin in Mumbai on December 9. The wicket-keeper batsman has been named the skipper following Meg Lanning's indefinite break from cricket and her deputy Rachael Haynes' sudden retirement from the international stage following the country's triumph at the Commonwealth Games 2022. Healy has 232 games and over 5,000 international runs to her name and already captains the New South Wales side in the domestic circuit.
A part of the leadership circle will be 27-year-old Tahlia McGrath, who has been made vice-captain just a year after her debut in the shortest format for Australia. In 14 T20Is, the all-rounder has a stunning average of 93.75 at a strike rate of 150-plus, while also scalping 16 wickets at an economy of 5.05 in the process.
"Alyssa will get the chance to lead the side in Meg's absence which is exciting, and Tahlia will no doubt take plenty from being her deputy. She's worked hard on developing that side of her game and thoroughly deserves the opportunity," Australia's Head of Performance and National Selector for the women's team, Shawn Flegler, was quoted saying by NDTV.
"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," he added.
The squad also features three uncapped players in the form of Phoebe Litchfield, Kim Garth and Heather Graham as the women from Down Under aim to shape up their squad in the run-up to the World T20 2023 in South Africa. While pace-bowling all-rounder Graham has previously been called up, batters Phoebe Litchfield and Kim Garth will be travelling as a part of the international squad for the first time. Garth recently became eligible to represent the Kangaroos having shifted from Ireland in 2020 and becoming a permanent resident of the Oceania island.
"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," Flegier further commented.
"Kim's another who's been in our thinking, she's had a couple of strong seasons with the ball and adds extra depth to our pace bowling stocks. Heather hasn't had many opportunities to break into the side, but she's toiled away with both bat and ball in domestic cricket. She adds depth to the middle order and provides Shelley and Alyssa with another pace bowling option," he concluded on the matter.