CommBank T20 INTL Tri-Series
Healy reveals she considered walking away from cricket
Phenomenal feats of Australia's keeper-batter in the past few years almost never eventuated as she pondered giving up the game
6 February 2020, 08:52 AM AEST
Alyssa Healy has revealed she seriously considered retiring from the game before she embarked on the incredible run that has seen the Australia wicketkeeper-batter become one of the leading forces in world cricket.
The numbers from Healy's past two years at the highest level make for remarkable reading; since October 2017 she's amassed 1,143 runs at 57.15 including three centuries in ODIs, in T20Is, she's struck 1,008 at 38.76 – comfortably more than any other Australian player.
In that time, she has claimed her first Belinda Clark Award – and is a leading contender to go back-to-back when the Australian Cricket Awards are named on Monday – while she was named player of the tournament in Australia's 2018 T20 World Cup triumph.
Those achievements make it even harder to believe that, not too long before her dramatic career turnaround, she was unsure her immediate future even lay in cricket.
"I remember having this discussion with (national selector) Shawn Flegler … it wasn't necessarily that I felt like I was at a crossroads, but I could have easily walked away from the game and been happy with what I'd done and that I'd contributed to successful teams," Healy, who at that point had won four World Cups in the green and gold, told cricket.com.au.
"I probably would have been 26, 27 at the time so it wasn't so long ago.
"I think I was probably just frustrated with my cricket and didn't really know what more I could achieve or what more I could do to better myself or my cricket.
"You come in at such a young age and you play for a long period of time, so you're not sure where the end is and you feel like you can walk away and do something else with your life while you're still young.
"I'm not sure (what convinced me to continue) to be fair, I think Flegs reassured me that I was doing the right thing for the team and I was doing my job, and that if I kept doing that then some more opportunities might open up."
Healy made her international debut in 2010, either filling in as 'keeper for Jodie Fields or playing as a specialist bat in her early years before taking over the gloves full time after Fields' retirement.
Her potential as a powerful, aggressive batter was always clear, but never quite delivered on at international level – prior to the 2017 Ashes, Healy averaged 15.96 in ODIs and 17.63 in T20Is, having been shuffled up and down the batting order without truly cementing a role.
At the point Healy was considering her future, the Australian team on a whole was also undergoing a period of soul searching, having failed to walk away with silverware at either the 2016 T20 or 2017 ODI world cups, despite being ranked the world's best.
"There was a lot of talk throughout that World Cup that we weren't playing the cricket that we knew we could and we were timid (even though) we had so much power in that middle and lower order sitting there," Healy said.
"I was wondering how we could use it better and get ourselves in positions earlier to dominate oppositions.
"It always felt like we were getting to the 40th over and then trying to explode for the last 10 instead of building momentum right through the innings.
"One thing that came out of that 2017 World Cup was a real change in mindset."
That shift in mindset also provided Healy's cricket career the second wind she had been searching for.
She was elevated to opener for the 2017 Ashes – this time with the assurance the position was hers to make her own – and backed to play her natural, aggressive game from ball one.
Dedicating more time to her strength and fitness than ever before, working tirelessly with batting mentor Ash Squire to improve her game, a new Alyssa Healy was born.
"Being given that opportunity to bat at the top of the order in that Ashes series is something that probably changed my game and changed my approach to the game and got me really rejuvenated about my cricket," she explained.
"We wanted to put the opposition on the back foot early … and when Motty approached me to do that job for the team in the Ashes series, it was a nod from me.
"I'd always been thrown up there for one or two games and mixed around the order, so to get that opportunity, I felt like I was in the right place mentally and maturity-wise to handle that and go out there and make it my own.
"For me, that was probably the flick of the switch I needed to work a bit harder to make sure I maintained that spot.
"I'm grateful that that happened. I'm definitely still enjoying my cricket and we'll see where it goes."
Healy isn't sure what she would have done, had she gone through with walking away from cricket – she once started, but did not complete a degree in marine biology, while her love of the golf course could have presented an alternate future.
"My golf was no good at that time, so it would have been really interesting as to what I would have done," Healy said.
"Hopefully I would have finished my uni degree that who knows what I would have done, I always felt like I could have gone and done something else and still be happy.
"I'm glad I stuck around and put in the effort I did to ensure that I could play a little bit longer and I feel that I'm contributing more to the team.
"Having that extra motivation to keep playing, keep playing well and inspire the next generation is probably keeping me in the game a bit longer than I thought."
CommBank T20I tri-series
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
First T20I: India beat England by five wickets
Second T20I: England beat Australia in Super Over
Third T20I: Australia won by four wickets, Manuka Oval
Fourth T20I: February 7, India v England, Junction Oval
Fifth T20I: February 8, Australia v India
Sixth T20I: February 9, Australia v England
Final: February 12, Junction Oval
* All matches will be broadcast on the Seven Network and Fox Cricket, live stream on Kayo and the CA Live app or listen on ABC Grandstand
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
February 15: Australia v West Indies, Allan Border Field
February 18: Australia v South Africa, Karen Rolton Oval
February 21: Australia v India, Sydney Showgrounds
February 24: Australia v Sri Lanka, WACA Ground
February 27: Australia v Bangladesh, Manuka Oval
March 5: Semi-final 1, SCG
March 5: Semi-final 2, SCG
March 8: Final, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* All matches will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo, while Australia’s matches will also be broadcast on the Nine Network