Wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy says a glaring hole in the trophy cabinet is driving Australia ahead of next month’s Women’s World T20 in the Caribbean.
For the first time since 2009, Australia don’t hold either the 50-over World Cup or its 20-over equivalent. England won the World Cup on home soil last year after Australia were knocked out in the semi-finals, while Meg Lanning’s team was defeated by West Indies in the final of the most recent World T20 in 2016.
Despite being ranked the world’s No.1 team for all but four months since the ICC introduced its new women’s ranking system in 2015, Australia’s last piece of ICC silverware came from the 2014 World T20.
For Healy, who was part of Australia’s World T20 wins in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and their 2013 World Cup victory, the current dry spell is an unfamiliar feeling and something she’s determined to help amend when next month’s tournament gets underway in Guyana on November 9.
‘We might be ranked number one but we don’t have any trophies at the moment, so that’s extra incentive for us to go over there (and win),” Healy said in Sydney on Friday.
“The West indies hold the T20 World Cup so for us to go over there and take it off their hands on their home soil, that’s something I think every team is looking to do.
“But for us not having either World Cup in the cabinet is something pretty unheard of with this team, so that’s something we’re looking to rectify.”
It’s a sentiment that was echoed by skipper Lanning, who said she was still feeling the pain of last year’s World Cup semi-final defeat to India.
“We haven’t been as successful as we would have liked over the last few years,” Lanning told RSN radio on Friday. “The World Cup last year was very disappointing and it hurt us collectively and individually.
“We’re very driven to make sure we get the result we want. I feel like the squad is in a really good spot at the moment, we’ve been playing some good cricket, so now it’s about making sure we put it out on the park when the World T20 comes around.”
Before they travel to the Caribbean, Australia will first meet Pakistan in three ODIs and three T20Is in Malaysia from next Thursday.
After a breakthrough 12 months with the bat and fresh off a player-of-the-series performance against New Zealand, Healy is feeling confident she can continue that form on the greatest stage next month.
“I’m just feeling very confident at the top of order, I’m feeling the faith from the selectors and the coaching staff and team as well,” Healy said.
“Feeling settled (as opener) has helped me play well.
“I really enjoyed a good pre-season at home and I worked really hard off the field and with my betting and keeping as well.”
Healy also attributed her current form to her new responsibilities as NSW captain, after she replaced the retired Alex Blackwell as Breakers leader for 2018-19.
“I was probably forced to change the way I went about (pre-season), we lost Alex Blackwell who was a really great leader in our side and we had senior players away for most of the pre-season with Rachel Haynes in England and Ellyse Perry away most of it, too,” she said.
“It was time for Alyssa Healy to try and stand up and do something a little bit different.
“I really enjoyed that, really relished the opportunity and I hope the Breakers girls took something out of that as well, (seeing) that you can reinvigorate your game at age 28, you can keep doing that.
“It was a good, fun pre-season and hopefully it’s put me in good stead for the summer.”
The Australian squad will travel to Malaysia early next week, where they’ll play three ODIs and three T20Is before travelling directly to the Caribbean for November’s World T20.
CommBank Tour of Malaysia
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Australia T20 & World T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen (subject to fitness), Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Pakistan ODI/T20 squad: Javeria Khan (c), Bibi Nahida, Ayesha Zafar, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Sidra Amin, Omaima Sohail, Nida Rashid, Sidra Nawaz, Sana Mir, Nashra Sundhu, Anum Amin, Natalia Parvaiz, Aliya Riaz, Diana Baig, Aiman Anwar
October 18: First ODI v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur
October 20: Second ODI v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 22: Third ODI v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 25: First T20I v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 27: Second T20I v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 29: Third T20I v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
2018 ICC Women's World T20
November 9: Australia v Pakistan, Province Stadium, Guyana
November 11: Australia v Ireland, Province Stadium
November 13: Australia v New Zealand, Province Stadium
November 17: Australia v India, Province Stadium
November 22: Semi-finals, Sir Vivian Richards Ground, Antigua
November 24: Final, Sir Vivian Richards Ground