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Scott Bailey

Sutherland, Perry set for T20 returns

Ellyse Perry has a chance to return to Australia's squad for the coming tour of India. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Annabel Sutherland and Ellyse Perry are the frontrunners to claim the two vacant spots in Australia's batting as officials plan for life without captain Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes in India.

Lanning's absence from Australia's Twenty20 tour of India will officially be confirmed on Tuesday, with Alyssa Healy to take over as interim captain.

Questions remain over whether star batter Lanning will return for February's T20 World Cup and in what role, as she continues her prolonged personal leave.

Her unavailability, and Haynes' recent retirement, will leave Australia with a new-look top order for India.

Selectors are likely to replace from within their regular squad rather than blood debutantes, with Sutherland and Perry currently the two most in-form bats among those in the reserves from Australia's last assignment, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The two opens spots in the 15-woman squad could then be handed to their bevy of back-up seamers, with officials keen to try new-ball and death-bowling combinations before February's World Cup.

But the interest will be around the biggest shake-up to Australia's batting in years ahead of the first game in Mumbai on December 9.

Sutherland in particular has had a superb WBBL, named in the team of the tournament on Monday after scoring 304 runs at 33.77 and taking 21 wickets for the Melbourne Stars.

The 21-year-old has already played 22 matches for Australia across all formats, but was not picked in the Commonwealth Games final and now has the chance to nail down a full-time spot.

"Her batting has been great. She started like a house on fire, and she had the game against the Renegades," said chief selector Shawn Flegler, referring to Sutherland's match-winning unbeaten 62 off 29 deliveries in the Stars' last-ball win against their Melbourne rivals.

"Her bowling, there are a lot more change-ups coming through. In the past maybe she was a little predictable.

"She is still coming into that sweet spot at 21, but such a competitive and determined player."

Perry, meanwhile, last played a T20 for Australia last October, having since been overlooked in last summer's Ashes and then in the Commonwealth Games while unable to bowl.

The 32-year-old was the second-highest run-scorer in the WBBL with 375, while her strike-rate of 121.35 is a drastic increase on previous years in an area in which selectors had wanted improvement.

Flegler would not confirm if Perry was a certain returnee to the XI, with the likes of Nicola Carey also in the squad, but her experience batting is expected to be the decisive factor.

"We have been really up front with her about (needing to up her scoring rate)," Flegler told AAP.

"She is still clear on areas she has been trying to improve. The fact she is back bowling now, she becomes another new-ball option for us, so that is handy ... and her experience leading into a World Cup is amazing."

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