Coach Shelley Nitschke of Australia acknowledges that things are changing more quickly than she anticipated as officials are delaying choosing Meg Lanning’s permanent replacement.
Less than a week after Lanning’s unexpected retirement announcement, selectors will name a team on Tuesday for the multi-format tour of India later this month.
It’s doubtful that a skipper will be announced until closer to Australia’s departure on December 13, as the Cricket Australia board must still make and ratify the choice.
The current front-runner is still Alyssa Healy, 33, who announced her candidacy after leading Australia during some of the previous year when Lanning was away.
The second possibility, if officials would rather have a longer-term successor, is Tahlia McGrath, a 28-year-old who has assisted Healy on previous tours.
“There are a lot of factors to consider surrounding it,” Nitschke said to the AAP. “All that needs to be done is follow the procedure.
“Sitting down with the selectors and people who make those decisions and working out what’s the best thing moving forward.”
Nitschke was aware that the all-conquering women’s team would be going through a major transformation when she assumed the position of coach last year.
However, that moment has come after a five-year period of Australian supremacy ended with the retirements of Lanning and her former deputy, Rachael Haynes, in the span of 14 months.
“We always knew that the transition is coming, but it probably hasn’t played out how you might have guessed,” Nitschke stated. “At some point, we understood that Rach was probably coming.
“However, I probably didn’t anticipate Meg retiring at this point. She will undoubtedly be missed. Despite the fact that it’s clear she hasn’t been among the group in a while. I had always assumed she would come back. Her leadership, presence, and everything else will be missed.
Australia’s first post-Lanning mission is in India, and it’s not an easy one. The team intends to adopt a more aggressive mindset in the three Twenty20 Internationals and One-Day Internationals, while the December 21 Test will mark Australia’s first visit to the nation since 1984.
Phoebe Litchfield has emerged at the top of the order because to Lanning’s repeated absences, and a major alteration from the team that drew the Ashes series in July is doubtful.
Australia frequently fields three spinners, including Ashleigh Gardner, an all-rounder, so Nitschke thinks the team always looks like it would play in India.
The largest obstacle, though, will be using the bat in foreign conditions during the Test match—especially without Lanning. Australia will be closely watching England’s Test match against India in Mumbai next month, and Nitschke is optimistic that a pre-match may be arranged.
“If it starts to turn, particularly in the second innings, it could present some conditions that we haven’t faced for a while,” Nitchscke stated. The majority of the players would not have encountered that previously. We will need to discuss and get used to this rather soon.”