After a "shock" appointment as captain of Australia's most successful domestic sporting team, Alyssa Healy says she's ready for the challenge of continuing one of cricket's great dynasties.
Australia's wicketkeeper-batter, Healy has been named captain of the Lendlease NSW Breakers for the upcoming 50-over Women’s National Cricket League season, replacing retired great Alex Blackwell.
Known for her astute cricket brain, Healy's appointment won’t come as a surprise to those who know the 28-year-old, with former Australia leader Lisa Sthalekar last year describing her captaincy as "cool, calm and tactically smart".
But Healy admits she had expected the role to go to either Rachael Haynes, who is Australia vice-captain, or Ellyse Perry, who leads the Sydney Sixers.
"It’s very exciting, (but) it did come as a shock to me a little bit," Healy told cricket.com.au.
"We’ve got Rachael and Pez in the side, so I thought after Alex retired one of them would take over the reins and I’d go on being normal Healy behind the stumps.
"But the opportunity arose and I grabbed it.
"I think it will be a really exciting, new challenge for me, I haven't been captain of a side properly since under-17s or something.
"It’s a really successful team for me to jump into and try to continue that success."
Healy had a short stint as Sixers captain at the business end of Rebel WBBL|02 when Perry was injured and, under her watch, they won three of three matches and took out their maiden WBBL title.
Healy has also previously captained Australia A and was named vice-captain for an ODI in Auckland in early 2017 when Blackwell was injured.
The Breakers have won an incredible 19 titles from 22 editions of the WNCL, including 10 in a row between 2005-06 and 2014-15.
Only defeats to Victoria (2002-03 and 04-05) and South Australia (2015-16) have soiled a near-perfect record, while a century from Healy was the difference as the Breakers strode to a 51-run win over Western Australia in last summer’s decider.
During Blackwell’s eight-year reign as NSW skipper, her team claimed the coveted Ruth Preddy Cup seven times.
Continuing that legacy is a daunting task, but Healy knows the talent she will have at hand this summer is second to none.
The Breakers 2018-19 squad features five Australian-contracted players, with Healy, Perry and Haynes joined by Ashleigh Gardner and Nicola Carey.
The 19-strong NSW playing group also includes four members of the National Performance Squad – Lauren Cheatle, Belinda Vakarewa, Rachel Trenaman and Saskia Horley.
Former internationals Sarah Aley and Rene Farrell add experience, while Naomi Stalenberg was part of Australia’s squad for the recent Commonwealth Bank Tour of India.
A further three players were part of Australia’s successful U19s tour of South Africa in April: Trenaman, Horley and batter Tahlia Wilson.
"It’ll be interesting selecting a team, that’s for sure," Healy laughed.
The WNCL season gets underway on September 21 when NSW meet Queensland on the Gold Coast.
NSW Breakers squad: Sarah Aley, Nicola Carey (CA), Lauren Cheatle, Rene Farrell, Ashleigh Gardner (CA), Maisy Gibson, Lisa Griffith, Rachael Haynes (CA), Alyssa Healy (CA), Mikayla Hinkley, Saskia Horley, Carly Leeson, Ellyse Perry (CA), Lauren Smith, Naomi Stalenberg, Rachel Treneman, Hannah Trethewy, Belinda Vakarewa, Tahlia Wilson