CommBank T20 INTL Tri-Series
'She's due': Healy backed to fire for T20 World Cup
Explosive opener's struggles continue with fifth-straight single-figure score, but Australia remain confident she will recapture dominant form for title defence
Laura Jolly in Melbourne
13 February 2020, 07:38 AM AEST
Alyssa Healy's unprecedented string of low scores has not unsettled Australia captain Meg Lanning, who has backed her out-of-sorts opener ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Star wicketkeeper-batter Healy, who took out both the ODI and T20I player-of-the-year gongs at Monday's Australian Cricket Awards, did not reach double figures once in five innings during the CommBank T20I Tri-Series against England and India – the longest streak she has had in the format in more than 100 T20Is.
Her first-over dismissal on Wednesday, caught behind three balls after starting Australia's innings with a crisp boundary, followed scores of 1, 0, 1 and 9.
It's a form line that is difficult to believe given her most recent T20I knock prior to the tri-series was the world record 148no she hit at North Sydney Oval in October.
The 29-year-old has been a near-unstoppable force at the top of the order in both limited-overs formats for more than two years, and was named player of the tournament when Australia took out the 2018 T20 World Cup in the West Indies, smashing 225 runs in five innings.
But her current run could be cause for concern with Australia to begin their home World Cup defence against India on February 21.
"It hasn't been ideal for Midge (Healy), but I along with the rest of the team are half expecting her to come out and whack it around in the first World Cup game," Lanning told reporters on Wednesday.
"I'm sure every bowler in the world is nervous about bowling to her because she's definitely due.
"She's fine, you go through patches in your career where you don't make runs, and she takes the game on for us, so she's going to take risks and sometimes that doesn't come off.
"I've got full confidence she'll play a big role for us in the World Cup and if it's not her day, then it's got to be someone else's, we can't rely on one player to win it for us.
"Midge'll come around really quickly, she's got a good attitude and she's 'keeping really well, which is great for the side, so we're not too worried."
Australia would have no shortage of options if they decided to make a change at the top of the order during the World Cup, with six squad members including Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Rachael Haynes all openers for their respective Rebel WBBL teams.
However, it would be a significant shift to make during a major tournament given it would mean breaking up an opening combination that has been set in stone since the 2017 Ashes.
It appears a change Australia are unlikely to make.
Lanning is backing the sheer depth of her line-up, which includes the likes of Renegades opener Sophie Molineux and allrounder Jess Jonassen batting in the lower order, to ensure Australia put an imposing total on the board regardless of Healy's fortunes.
And fortunately for Australia, there are no such concerns over the form of Healy's opening partner Beth Mooney, who was named player of the tri-series after scoring three half-centuries in five matches including an unbeaten 71 in the final.
"Beth Mooney has been excellent, she's just carried on from the WBBL (where she averaged 74) which is great," Lanning said.
"We feel like we've got eight or nine genuine batters who can come in and do a job.
"It only takes one or two shots and (Healy) will be back in the groove, so I'm looking forward to watching it when it happens."
Australia have two more hit-outs before the World Cup begins, with warm-up games scheduled against West Indies in Brisbane and South Africa in Adelaide.
Speaking to cricket.com.au on Monday, Healy admitted she had come into the tri-series feeling rusty but was confident the tide was about to turn.
"It's not ideal, I want to be making a few more runs than what I am, but I actually felt really good going out to bat against England on Sunday, it just didn't come off like I wanted it," Healy said.
"But it was the first time I felt really comfortable out there, so hopefully that's a good sign heading into the next few weeks.
"It's been a little bit about decision making, a little bit about confidence as well.
"After a few weeks off I was feeling a little rusty."
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
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
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 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