Lanning pencils in return date

Australia skipper hopeful of appearing in the final round of the WNCL ahead of an international return against India

Mark down this date in your diaries: February 16, 2018.

That's the date Australia skipper Meg Lanning has penciled in for her return to competitive cricket.

With Australia to embark on a month-long tour of India at the beginning of March, Lanning hopes to have two domestic hit outs in the 50-over Women's National Cricket League two weeks before leaving home soil.

That could see the Victorian return for her state's final two matches of the WNCL season, to be played against Queensland and Western Australia at Allan Border Field on consecutive days.

The 25-year-old's involvement in the India tour is no certainty, with Lanning, her coaches and her doctors alike unwilling to take any risks with a World T20 looming next November unless she can prove her shoulder is 100 per cent ready.

Meg-astar shines brightest to guide Aussies home

But five months after undergoing surgery on a serious shoulder injury, Lanning says she is on track.

"It's all going really well," Lanning said at the MCG on Wednesday. "I'm itching to get out there and play and hopefully if all goes to plan, I'll play some WNCL matches for Victoria then go on the tour of India.

"The main aim is to be fit for India, but ideally I'll get a couple of games in before then as well."

Lanning has returned to the nets and while she is not yet able to play her full array of shots, she is pleased with her progress.

"I haven't quite got to the stage where batting is unrestricted, but I am playing most shots and fielding as well. It's started coming together and that's exciting.

"I've got to be able to bat at 100 per cent, that's the main thing. I'm not too far away hopefully, and fielding and diving around and landing on it is the other thing as well.

"That'll come over the next month or two and all going to plan it should be right to go.

"It's given me a good chance to sit back and work out what I want to work on.

"I won't have to change my technique at all, which is a good thing, so it's just about gaining confidence again and knowing I can do whatever I need to do and it'll hold up, that's the end game."

Marvellous Meg makes it a perfect 10

The Australian captain has also started throwing overarm again – an unfamiliar sensation after more than 18 months of being restricted to underarming the ball.

It's that aspect of her game she expects will take the longest to improve, but Lanning isn't planning on following in the footsteps of George Bailey by attempting to become ambidextrous.

"I did try throwing left arm, but it's very difficult so that didn't last very long and I'll stick to right arm," she laughed.

"I haven't thrown for 18 months so it will take a little bit of time to get back (to how it used to be), it could take a while but I'm building strength back into it."

If Lanning doesn't tour India, Australia's next engagement isn't likely to be until October 2018. Should that happen, Lanning will consider playing in England's Super League in order to gain valuable match practice, but for now her thoughts are solely focused on making that flight to Mumbai on March 3.

Australia will play three one-day internationals in India – with the matches counting towards the ICC Women's Championship – before taking part in a T20 tri-series also featuring England.

It's a crucial chance for the Southern Stars to refine their 20-over tactics before next year's World T20, to be held in the Caribbean in November.

"The India tour has given me a good target to aim for, it will be a very important tour for us against a really good side. With the T20 series as well with England, leading into the T20 World Cup we want to try and nail that format as a team and I want to be part of that."

Another century for Meg Lanning

And there's one thing Lanning is particularly looking forward to after more than a year of having the question "how's the shoulder?" thrown at her constantly.

"We're taking a bit more time (with recovery) now to take sure we get it right.

"Then once it's fixed, that's the last we hear of it," she said.

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