Cricket: Australian captain Meg Lanning will miss the WBBL

Australia captain Meg Lanning’s return to cricket remains up in the air after confirmation she will miss the upcoming WBBL with the Melbourne Stars as she continues her indefinite break from the game.

Lanning stepped away following Australia’s Commonwealth Games gold-medal success in Birmingham and it’s still unclear when, or if, she will return.

“The club respects her decision and asks that her privacy continue to be respected,” a Stars statement said.

The WBBL begins on October 15, and the Stars will need to find a new captain.

But the Aussies could also need a new skipper for a tour of India in mid-December, with veteran vice-captain Rachael Haynes having also announced her international retirement.

New Australian coach Shelley Nitschke revealed last week that she was yet to talk to Lanning about her future and gave no guarantee she would be back in time for the India series.

She said there was a strong group of leaders who could fill the role, including stars Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy.

“When the time is right we‘ll have those conversations about whether she is back in December or whenever it might be,” she said.

“There are a good group of emerging leaders in our team that are going to have opportunities to stick their hands up.

“We don‘t have a designated leadership group, but there are people among the team and group that are leaders on and off the field. Some girls lead in their states. They all have different strengths.”

Lanning has been captain of Australia for nearly a decade, having taken over the leadership when she was just 21.

Now 30, Lanning has led the team to unprecedented success, with the T20 and ODI World Cup titles, Commonwealth Games gold and multiple Ashes victories.

She has also maintained her form as one of the leading batters in the world, averaging 53.53 in ODIs and 36.48 in T20Is.

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