ICC Women's World T20

Healy sets sights on record crowds

Pressure on Australians to perform in the 20-over format and build momentum for the home World T20 in 2020, says Alyssa Healy


01 February 2018, 02:40 PM

Alyssa Healy says it's on the Australian team to ensure the atmosphere at the stand-alone World Twenty20 final is a vast change from one where she could hear her own clap echo back from empty MCG stands.

The International Cricket Council and Cricket Australia this week opened the door for a world record capacity for a women's sporting event, after confirming the final of the 2020 women's tournament will be held at the MCG.

Whispers among women's cricket circles have already set the ambitious goal of selling out the 100,000-seat stadium, and potentially topping the world record 90,185 people who watched the final of the 1999 women's soccer World Cup final in California.

In women's cricket terms, at least 70,000 fans packed out India's Eden Gardens in 1997 when Australia faced New Zealand in the women's 50-over World Cup final, while Lord's was sold out for last year's decider.

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But Healy said those hopes would rely largely on the performance of the Australian team, who have made the last four finals and won three.

"The goal for CA is to fill out the MCG in the final and I think a big part of that is for the Australian team to make that final," Healy said.

"So it's going to be a big couple of years for us. Hopefully we can see a big packed out MCG for a women's final."

The tournament will mark the first time the World T20 will be held in Australia, and the first time the men's and women's competitions will be split apart when hosted in the same year.

But the growth of women's cricket in the past three years in Australia leaves Healy confident the tournament will succeed on its own.

While at the turn of the last decade just a few hundred turned out for women's Ashes Tests, more than 12,000 packed into North Sydney Oval for the same fixture earlier this summer, while the series-opening ODI was sold out in Brisbane.

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All pointing, she hopes, to the sport reaching its potential at the MCG on March 8, 2020.

"It would be amazing," Healy said.

"Previously there have been some games we've played at the MCG and there have been about 100 people there.

"And it's been quite bizarre to hear yourself clapping when it echoes around the stand.

"It will be amazing, something really special for whichever team will be a part of it. It's now the job of the players and the administrators to make that happen."