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Healy and Lanning Lead Australia's World Cup defense squad

Healy and Lanning Lead Australia's World Cup defense squad
Healy and Lanning Lead Australia's World Cup defense squad

Australia announced a strong team to defend their Women's Twenty20 World Cup title, led by the talented trio of Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, and the returning Alyssa Healy.

As the reigning five-time champions, Australia is heavily favored to win the upcoming tournament in South Africa next month. Their chances are further strengthened by the comeback of leg-spinner Georgia Wareham, who has returned after a prolonged absence due to injury.

Wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy was included in the 15-member squad despite recently dealing with a calf injury sustained in December while in India. Despite this, she is expected to be able to participate in the tournament.

In 2020, Australia defeated India by an astounding 85 runs in front of a packed crowd of over 86,000 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, thereby securing their victory in the T20 World Cup.

Meg Lanning will once again serve as the team's captain, having recently returned from an extended break last month, putting to rest any concerns that she had retired from international play.

In August, the 30-year-old, record-breaking Lanning had announced that she was stepping away from the game to "focus on herself" after a long period of leading Australia to a series of successful tournaments.

"It's always tough to narrow a squad down to just 15 players, but we're confident we've picked a well-balanced side," said national selector Shawn Flegler. 

"Seeing Meg and Georgia back in action for Victoria has been exciting. Both bring a wealth of experience to the group, which is always crucial during major tournaments.

"Georgia in particular, has had a tough run of injuries, but she's shown a great deal of resilience and her return is a real boost for the side."

Australia's defense of their World Cup title will begin on February 12 when they take on New Zealand, following that up with pool games against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Prior to heading to South Africa, Australia will play a series of T20 and one-day matches against Pakistan as warm-up for the World Cup.

Australia squad: Meg Lanning (capt), Alyssa Healy, Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham