Healy heartened by Lanning return but wants early failure

Superstar pair set to face off in WBBL|09 opener, with Lanning to play first Big Bash game in almost two years

Alyssa Healy says she is proud to see Meg Lanning back in cricket, but her well wishes won't extend into a hope for runs in the WBBL season opener.

Lanning will play her first WBBL game in close to two years for Melbourne Stars against Healy's Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on Thursday night.

In the time since the 2021 season, Lanning missed last year while on personal leave before returning to cricket and missing this year's Ashes for medical reasons.

She has since come back to the game for a second time, averaging 70 across four innings for Victoria to start this summer.

"Proud is probably an understatement," Healy, who deputised for Lanning as Australia's captain in her absence, said.

"What Meg's gone through is Meg's business. The fact that she's back playing cricket (is great) and we want to continue to support her the best way we can.

"Hopefully knocking her over for a duck tomorrow night would be a real good start.

"She's obviously in red-hot form, which is a little bit daunting come tomorrow night

"But at the end of the day it's just nice to see her back playing and enjoying herself."

Lanning's red-hot comeback continues with another fast fifty

Lanning has been largely coy on her future, adamant she has not given significant thought to the multi-format tour of India in December as a potential national team return.

Australia's chief selector Shawn Flegler had indicated last month that was likely to be the case, provided the 31-year-old's return to cricket went to plan.

Lanning said her second stint away from the game had not significantly altered her long-term plans in the sport.

"I haven't thought a lot about that," Lanning said.

"I do know that I've still got that competitive edge. I love playing and contributing to different teams.

"That's really what I'm thinking about at the moment.

"That's been my mindset throughout. Just trying to not look too far ahead and just enjoy being here, being part of the tournament and see how it unfolds."

While Lanning will return for the Stars, the Sixers will be without captain Ellyse Perry after recording a third strike in last year's grand-final loss to Adelaide for slow over-rates.

Ashleigh Gardner will captain Sydney in her absence, but both the Sixers and free-to-air broadcasters the Seven Network are known to have asked Cricket Australia about removing the ban.

Healy questioned on Wednesday whether over-rates penalties should apply from finals.

"I get it. It's part of the game and we had been warned multiple times that (the ban) would take place," Healy said.

"But I mean, the reality is, it's a final and there's a tournament on the line. And I think sometimes you should be able to be afforded the extra time to make decisions.

"But they're the rules, we play within them, and it gives us a great opportunity to have Ash come out and lead the Sixers for the first time."

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