by Brad Greenshields, Coffs Coast Advocate
AUSTRALIAN women's cricket captain Meg Lanning admits a long period of rehabilitation is far from her cup of tea.
It's been nine weeks since arguably the world's best batter had surgery to repair her troublesome shoulder and the 25-year-old admits not being able to move around or simply have a hit in the nets has driven her a little stir crazy.
"I'm not good at sitting still so it's been a challenge for me to have to wait for it to settle down," Lanning said.
"I'm sort of starting to get back into some more exercise and gym and stuff like that now so I'm happy with that."
On Sunday the Australian women's cricket team begins its Ashes series against England.
Preparations for the opening match at Allan Border Field have been on in earnest in Brisbane this week with Lanning miles away in her Melbourne home.
The classy right-hander admits that in her current condition, being away from the squad is in all likelihood a blessing for her teammates.
"I haven't seen them too much, which is probably a good thing - I would be annoying people," she said.
"I'll be up there for the game on Sunday but I haven't seen them this week."
Lanning will fly in to Brisbane on Saturday to see the opening one-day international but she said the most time she'll spend with the Aussie girls during the Ashes will be during the historic day/night Test to be played at the picturesque North Sydney Oval.
Not being able to play, or even train for that matter, limits what she can do for the team but Lanning hopes she can assist the team in some way to retain the prized trophy.
"Hopefully I can have a little bit of an influence around the group in terms of playing in a big series and things like that and getting a different perspective on things," she said.
"I think when you're involved in it and playing you sometimes see things a bit differently to when you're sitting on the sidelines watching.
"It won't be a major role, I'll be letting them go about their business but I'll be around the group and hopefully I can have a positive impact."
With England recently taking away the mantle of being the world's No.1 team from Australia as well as winning the World Cup, Lanning said there was no shortage of motivation for the home team to perform over the next month.
"We're obviously looking to bounce back from the World Cup a couple of months ago," she said.
"Coming up against England, we always look forward to that and we've had good success against them in the past so we're confident heading in but we know we're in for a pretty tough challenge.
"They (England) will provide a good contest for us. It will be a close series but I definitely think we'll be able to get up."