Meg Lanning won’t make her return from injury in Victoria’s final round of Women’s National Cricket League action, with the Australia captain not named in the Spirit’s squad to play two matches in Queensland this weekend.
Lanning, who underwent shoulder surgery in August and missed the Ashes and Rebel WBBL, had hoped to play the matches against Queensland and Western Australia on Friday and Saturday.
Her absence is a blow to Australia’s hopes of regaining their skipper for next month’s limited-overs tour of India.
But Australian team physiotherapist Kate Mahony described it as a "precautionary measure".
“Meg’s return to cricket is progressing well, however she will not play for Victoria this weekend as a precautionary measure," Mahoney said.
"She still has some time to prove her fitness for the upcoming tour of India, with the squad to be announced next week following the final minor round of domestic cricket.”
Speaking to cricket.com.au last week, Southern Stars coach Matthew Mott said even if Lanning did miss the domestic 50-over matches, it wouldn’t necessarily rule her out of the subcontinent tour.
“She has good days and bad days, but overall she’s tracking well and there’s still time before we have to make that (India) call,” Mott said.
“We’ll make (that decision) after the last round of the WNCL. She’s in good spirits and going well.
“There might be an opportunity, if she’s not right (for WNCL) for whatever reason, to play club cricket and come back through there.”
If Lanning doesn't travel to India, she'll have ample time to prepare for Australia's next assignment, likely to be in September.
Victoria sit sixth on the WNCL table with two matches remaining, out of contention for the final on February 24.
The Australian selectors will sit down early next week to decide their ODI and T20 squads for India, with the weekend presenting players with their final chance to impress.
Speaking at the launch of the ICC World T20 2020 earlier this month, Lanning said she was “itching” to get back out in the middle.
"I've got a few things to tick off before I do return, but hopefully (it happens) soon," she said.
"(My recovery) is going well, I'm sick of watching cricket and ready to get back out there."
While Lanning remains on the sidelines, Australian leg-spinner Kristen Beams will line up for the Spirit, while Ashleigh Gardner, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Tahlia McGrath have been named in South Australia’s squad for matches against the ACT and NSW.
Coming off a breakout WBBL season for Melbourne Stars, Annabel Sutherland has been named in the Spirit squad and could make her Victorian debut.
Victoria squad: Kristen Beams (C), Makinley Blows, Nicole Faltum, Emma Inglis, Alana King, Anna Lanning, Sophie Molineux, Rhiann O’Donnell, Chloe Rafferty, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
South Australia squad: Tegan McPharlin (c) (wk), Samantha Betts, Sophie Devine, Sarah Lowe, Ashleigh Gardner, Tahlia McGrath, Bridget Patterson, Brittany Perry, Ellie Falconer, Alexandra Price, Tabatha Saville, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Australia tour of India
Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 8
Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 6
First ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 12
Second ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 15
Third ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 18
First T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 22
Second T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 23
Third T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 25
Fourth T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, March 26
Fifth T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 28
Sixth T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 29
Final Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 31