Healy collects first Belinda Clark Award
Alyssa Healy caps a sensational year by sweeping the ODI and T20I Player of the Year awards and collecting the Belinda Clark Award
11 February 2019, 11:04 PM AEST
Star wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy has been rewarded for a stunning year with bat and gloves at international level, claiming her first Belinda Clark Award.
Healy was officially crowned Australia's best cricketer from the past 12 months at the Australian Cricket Awards in Melbourne, finishing with a trifecta of honours having already taken out the ODI Player of the Year and T20I Player of the Year gongs earlier in the evening.
The 28-year-old totalled 128 votes to win the award by a massive margin, ahead of spearhead Megan Schutt with 81 votes, while Ashleigh Gardner (71) and Ellyse Perry (60) finished third and fourth respectively, under the system that factors in votes from players, team officials, media and umpires.
Her rise to Australia's top player marks a changing of the guard after a five-year period that saw Lanning and Perry dominate the Belinda Clark Award, while she's also claimed a piece of history as the first player to take out the individual ODI and T20I awards, introduced for the first time this year.
Healy debuted for Australia in 2010 and has long been regarded as one of the world's best behind the stumps.
But it's with the bat that the NSW native has taken her limited-overs batting game to a new level across the past 18 months, forging a reputation as one of the game's most damaging openers.
The signs were there during the 2017 Ashes on home soil, but it was in the Indian city of Baroda in March last year that Healy finally broke through to score her maiden one-day international century.
That knock, a 133 from 115 deliveries that helped seal a series whitewash for the Australians, was almost followed by a second against Pakistan in October when Healy was bowled for 97.
In a year that saw the Australians play just six ODIs amid a glut of 20-over cricket, Healy struck 329 runs at 54.83 to cement her place at the top of the one-day order.
And if her one-day feats in 2018 were impressive, Healy's T20I form was something else entirely.
In 16 innings she hit 578 runs at 41.29 –striking at a rate of 145.96 – including six half-centuries.
She started quietly, with scores of 4, 31, 9, 6 and 33 during the Mumbai T20I tri-series against England and India in March.
That all changed in October, when she struck 57 and 67 in consecutive matches against New Zealand, before posting 59, 6 and 67no in the three-game series against Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur.
Healy proceeded to take the T20 World Cup by storm, scoring 48, 56no, 53, 46 and 22 to be named player of the tournament as Australia won their fourth T20 crown.
Reflecting on her stunning year during that campaign, Healy noted she'd been forced to re-examine her batting following Australia's disappointing 50-over World Cup campaign in 2017, while she's also relished an extended opportunity to cement her plate at the top of the order.
Speaking to Direct Hit ahead of the Australian Cricket Awards, Australia captain Meg Lanning was full of praise for the work Healy has put into her game.
"I think she's made a number of changes both in terms of her scoring areas but also in her approach on and off the field," Lanning told Direct Hit.
"I think after that 2017 World Cup, along with everyone in the team, we worked out where we needed to improve and get better if we were going to be as successful as we wanted to be and it's been great to see her evolve over the last 18 months.
"She's really improved her fitness off the field, her attitude's always been really good but she's really been determined to contribute consistently and the other thing she's done is she's added some new shots to her game which makes her incredibly difficult to bowl to.
"The thing I've been most impressed with is her consistency. For someone who comes out from ball one and tries to take the game on, you sort of feel like they might miss out every now and again but she hasn't done that, she's just been coming out and churning the runs out whether it be for Australia or the Sixers or New South Wales.
"For her to be that consistent is a real credit to the work that she's done."
Belinda Clark Award
Alyssa Healy - 125 votes
Megan Schutt - 81
Ashleigh Gardner – 71
Ellyse Perry - 60
Sophie Molineux, Meg Lanning– 48
ODI Player of the Year
Alyssa Healy – 13 votes
Nicole Bolton – 12 votes
Ashleigh Gardner – 9
Megan Schutt – 7
Meg Lanning, Nicola Carey – 6
T20I Player of the Year
Alyssa Healy – 43 votes
Megan Schutt – 30
Ellyse Perry – 27
Ashleigh Gardner – 22
Sophie Molineux - 18
CommBank ODIs v NZ
February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth
February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne