Healy fit and firing for T20 World Cup

Alyssa Healy will be fit to play in Australia's Twenty20 World Cup defence, with selectors naming her vice-captain of a 15-strong squad and backing her to return in January.

Healy has not played since injuring her calf last month in India, and has already been ruled out of next week's one-day series against Pakistan.

But officials are now confident she will be fit to feature in three T20 matches against Pakistan from January 24, ahead of February's World Cup in South Africa.

Healy is vice-captain of the 15-player squad announced for both series, with Meg Lanning having previously confirmed she would return to the top job on her comeback from personal leave.

Australia coach Shelley Nitschke said Healy's availability was a big plus for the squad.

"There were some concerns in India when that injury occurred but to know she is going to be on track to play in a World Cup for us is great news," Nitschke said.

"She is a big part of the team."

Georgia Wareham is the biggest surprise selection, rushed back into the squad after returning from a 14-month injury lay-off last week.

The Victorian - who was part of Australia's T20 World Cup triumphs in 2018 and 2020 - ruptured her ACL in a WBBL game in October 2021.

She will join Alana King as one of two legspinners in the squad, with finger-spinner Jess Jonassen - previously out with a hamstring injury - also back.

"Georgia was a fantastic player for us before her injury ... we feel like she offers us another option with the ball and some lower hitting with the bat," Nitschke said.

"When you've got a player like Ash Gardner who is probably our front line spinner in her own right who bats in the top order, that allows us to have that extra option. Jess Jonassen with the ball is a proven performer in T20 cricket."

Wareham's return means fellow spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington is omitted, while youngster Phoebe Litchfield is the batter to make way for Lanning.

The biggest surprise omission is Nicola Carey.

A mainstay of Australia's squad since 2018, the Hobart Hurricanes allrounder played in the 2020 T20 World Cup final but has failed to lock down a consistent role since.

Instead, selectors have opted to keep former Irish seamer Kim Garth and allrounder Heather Graham in the 15-player group. Both debuted in India last month.

"It's always tough to narrow a squad down to just 15 players," head selector Shawn Flegler said

Australia play Pakistan in Sydney, Hobart and Canberra before their World Cup opener against New Zealand in Paarl on February 12.

AUSTRALIA T20 WORLD CUP SQUAD: Meg Lanning (capt), Alyssa Healy, Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.