Alyssa Healy welcomes you with a bright smile on a pleasant Thursday morning at the Trident Hotel on Marine Drive, Mumbai. The hotel is about a 10-minute walk from Brabourne Stadium, where he played a wonderful innings a fortnight ago.
Chasing Royal Challengers Bangalore’s modest 138 in the Women’s Premier League, she scored an unbeaten 96 off 47 balls to take the lead UP Warriors won by 10 wickets, It was the latest episode of his big, brutal offensive innings.
Healy is surprisingly destructive and to add to the difficulties of the bowlers, he bats deep. In last year’s World Cup final against England in Christchurch, the Australian wicketkeeper-opener scored a brilliant 170 off 138 balls.
in an exclusive interview with Hindu, The smiling killer talks about being part of an all-winning Australian team, captaining a franchise in the first season of the WPL, the rivalry with India, growing up with the great Ellyse Perry and how Harmanpreet Kaur’s knock helped Australia. forced a change in approach. ODI cricket and even his career was affected. Excerpts:
How has been the experience with WPL?
It has been a great learning experience for me. we have a coach who is english [Jon Lewis], the captain who is an Australian and we are playing in an Indian league; It’s great to be able to pull them together.
Has WPL lived up to your expectations?
Yes it has. I thought it would be frantic, exciting and somewhat chaotic at times. It has lived up to all the hype. I think the support for WPL has been the best part. The viewership has been great. And every team has sponsors everywhere.
Your husband Mitchell Starc was also in India with the Australian men’s team. And he had a good ODI series taking eight wickets.
He did really well and the boys did a great job. He loves that white new ball. It looks like he is in good form and is bowling fast. Obviously it is difficult to beat India in their home conditions, especially in a World Cup year.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten 171 (115b) in the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup changed women’s cricket in India forever. How do you look at that knock and Australia’s defeat?
It changed the Australian team as a team and reshaped the way we wanted to play ODI cricket and we’ve had a fair amount of success, which is amazing. Whatever we tried and bowled that day, he just found a way to hit it to the boundary. I remember we were thinking that we needed to come up with something different. Everything we threw at it wasn’t good enough. It was a remarkable innings from him and it will remain so for a long time. It was a real turning point for the group and for me personally as well.
Your career took a dramatic turn after that World Cup. You were promoted to the opening on a permanent basis.
Earlier I was batting in the middle and probably didn’t know what my role was. So from that moment on, we wanted to play one-day cricket and that included me in the top order; When this opportunity first came my way, I didn’t really get a chance to take advantage of it. At that point, being 27 and where I was in my career, it gave me the confidence to do better. And I’ve always been lucky enough to have great opening partners like Rachael Haynes and Beth Mooney.
How does it feel to be a part of one of the greatest cricket teams of all time – men or women? You belong to a golden generation of players like Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Megan Schutt, Tahlia McGrath…
This is very surprising. It’s exciting that we’ve been able to create a culture where players can come in and be the best in the world. Tahlia can come in and perform straight away and Ash can come in and be an amazing all-rounder. This is the most enjoyable aspect for me. And I get to play with Meg and Elyse, who will probably go down as two of the best players of all time, and that’s cool. What we have achieved as a team is the most satisfying part. Yes, I am grateful that I was born in this era and got a chance to play for this generation of players. I think the way we’ve been able to set it up, it’s going to be successful for an extended period of time.
You started playing with Perry when you were kids and both of you have now won eight World Cups together. How cool was little Elise? Did you imagine that she would become the cricketer that she did?
Yes, I remember him and Meg standing outside long ago. Ellyse was better than half the boys she played against. It was no surprise that she was selected for Australia when she was 16. His career has lived up to the expectations.
You didn’t do anything bad even while playing with the boys. You gave him the wicket, didn’t you?
Yes, I caught myself. I have always played with boys and it has helped.
How much help do you get from your uncle, former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy?
I don’t get as much help from that as maybe everyone thinks, but that’s okay. I didn’t grow up in Queensland. When I started playing for Australia, he played whatever role he could. It’s great to have someone on the other end of the phone to chat about wicketkeeping. What I really love about him as a ‘keeping coach’ is that he is really simple and old school. And my ‘maintenance’ is old school too.
Which ‘Keepers’ have you seen?
Obviously Uncle Ian, but if you look at my style of keeping, it’s like Brad Haddin. In my opinion, Tim Paine is one of the best wicketkeepers in the world. So I look at probably the three best glovemen in Australia.
Australia and India and over the years have been involved in some great contests in women’s cricket…
I guess it’s super-competitive, isn’t it? Everyone wants to beat Australia, which we understand. We’re top hunting. India are probably the most competitive side in that bracket outside England. You can see how much India want to beat Australia at crucial moments, and I think it’s great for the game. That competition is going to move the game. Yes, there can be tension on the field at times, but our rivalry is what makes the game better.