Aussies tossing up whether Healy will play first T20I

Tahlia McGrath on standby to lead with Australia's wicketkeeper-captain in doubt due to illness

Australia will wait until the last minute to make a call on Alyssa Healy's availability for the first T20I against South Africa at Manuka Oval, with the captain battling illness in the lead-up to the multi-format series.

Healy was on light duties at Australia’s final training session on Friday afternoon, going through her paces with the gloves and in the nets, in what were positive signs for the hosts.

The 33-year-old, who has not tested positive to Covid, is recovering from illness and the Aussies will wait until Saturday morning to make a call on whether she plays.

If she does not play in the first of two T20Is in as many days, deputy Tahlia McGrath will take the reins as skipper.

Beth Mooney would be expected to take the wicketkeeping gloves in Healy's absence, while Australia would have a number of options to fill her slot at the top of the order – Ellyse Perry, Grace Harris, Phoebe Litchfield have all performed the job for their Big Bash sides.

Perry eager to take India momentum into Proteas series

"She's certainly on the mend, she's improving today," McGrath told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

"She's going to train lightly with us today and then a final decision will be made in the morning around her availability but we expect her to fingers crossed come up and be out there.

"We're pretty lucky, we're spoilt for choice in the fact that we're not reliant on any one player and if anyone goes down, we've got numerous options to cover with bat, captaincy and gloves.

"Lots of players play different roles for their Big Bash franchises, and we're a very team-first side, so whatever the team requires on the day, we feel as though we've got all options covered."

Healy aside, Australia are not expected to make many – if any – tweaks to the XI they fielded for the final two T20Is against India earlier this month.

The main call is likely to be between pace bowlers Kim Garth and Darcie Brown, after the former replaced the latter in the XI during the series in Mumbai.

"Like I said, we're spoilt for choice - we've got the pace of Darce, and the way Kim bowled in India was fantastic and her ability to swing the ball and then our spinners are world class," McGrath said.

"(Healy) has got a very tough job when she's often got eight or nine bowlers in her line-up and doesn't really matter who she throws the ball to, they know how to get the job done ... it's a good problem to have when you have tough selection meetings."

Meanwhile South Africa captain Laura Wolvaardt confirmed Marizanne Kapp would be available for the Proteas after missing Wednesday’s tour game against the Governor-General’s XI in Sydney.

The superstar allrounder arrived in Australia on a later flight than her teammates due to visa issues.

The tourists will also welcome spin-bowling allrounder Chloe Tryon back into their XI after she missed their recent series against Bangladesh with a groin injury.

Women's CommBank T20I Series v South Africa

January 27: First T20, Manuka Oval, Canberra 10.45am

January 28: Second T20, Manuka Oval, Canberra 10.45am

January 30: Third T20, Blundstone Arena, Hobart 7.05pm

Women's CommBank ODI Series v South Africa

February 3: First ODI, Adelaide Oval, 2.10pm

February 7: Second ODI, North Sydney Oval, 2.40pm

February 10: Third ODI, North Sydney Oval, 2.40pm

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Darcie Brown, Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris*, Jess Jonassen, Alana King**, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham *T20s only | **ODIs only

South Africa squad (T20Is & ODIs): Laura Wolvaardt (c), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Mieke de Ridder (wk), Ayanda Hlubi, Sinalo Jafta (wk), Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Suné Luus, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Chloe Tryon, Delmi Tucker

Women's CommBank Test Match v South Africa

February 15-18: Only Test, WACA Ground, Perth 11.00am