Alyssa Healy can pinpoint the moment she realised she needed to put some serious work into her batting game – and exactly what was required to make a transformation.
Healy has scored more runs than any of her Australian teammates across recent months, finally tapping into the batting potential that had simmered beneath the surface for so many years but which had rarely been seen at international level.
The wicketkeeper-batter has scored four half-centuries in six innings since the start of October and fell just two runs shy of another in Australia’s World T20 opener against Pakistan on Friday, dismissed for a 29-ball 48.
The 28-year-old has found equally good form in one-day international cricket and while she gives much credit to the consistency she’s been given at the top of the order across the last 12 months, having previously batted anywhere from opener to No.9, she can also remember the moment she realised how she could transform her batting game.
"I think I'm a better player now than what I was 12 months ago," Healy said after Australia wrapped up a 52-run win.
"I think I went away actually after the 50-over World Cup, there was a game against England in the round games, and we probably should have won that at the end of the day and we didn't.
"And I went back and looked at the innings that I played and realised there was a big area with the ground that I wasn't accessing.
"And if I had accessed that, potentially we would have won that round game and we would have been in the finals.
"For me it was a real eye-opener and I went away and worked really hard and developed a sweep shot and opened up a whole other area of the ground.
"And I'm really enjoying it at the moment. It's such a natural hockey swing for me. It's just allowed me to manipulate fields a little bit more.
"And then I can just trust my swing down over cover or down on the ground."
No surprises here! Two stumpings, two caught behinds, not to mention a commanding 48 runs next to her name! Congratulations to a deserving player of the match, Alyssa Healy! #WATCHME #WT20 pic.twitter.com/QxY8pTyREC— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@SouthernStars) November 9, 2018
Healy’s work with the bat on Friday was matched by her feats with the gloves – she assisted in one run out to dismiss the dangerous Omaima Sohail, while also executing two stumpings and claiming two catches.
After what she described with typical Healy honesty as a "pretty poor" couple of months behind the stumps, the Sixers’ ‘keeper has been toiling long and hard in the Caribbean sun since Australia’s arrival almost two weeks ago, trying to prepare herself to keep wicket in conditions completely unlike those at home.
That work has included receiving countless balls from coaching staff, and even recruiting cricket.com.au’s travelling cameraperson to film vision of her movement behind the stumps for extra analysis.
"I've been pretty poor behind the stands the last couple of months, but I’ve been working hard," she said.
"Every single coach, support staff, has been helping me.
"We had a big loss in (former fielding coach) Tim Coyle not with the group anymore so we don't have a specialist keeping coach, but every staff member has stepped up and thrown me balls at one point.
"I wasn't using my legs enough. I was getting a little bit lazy.
"So for me just getting my legs back into the game and getting in strong positions and being able to stay low and I guess keep on these sort of tricky conditions is going to be really important.
"And I've been putting a lot of hard work in there. So hopefully I can do the spinners justice.
"They all bowl incredibly well. It's sort of my role behind the stumps to finish it off for them."
Enjoying this one from Healy, DK? 😂 Aussies have started their bowling attack well, restricting Pakistan to 3-42 (7.1) #AUSvPAK #WT20 pic.twitter.com/jBovjtU7MR— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@SouthernStars) November 9, 2018
That toil is the hallmark of the modern Alyssa Healy; captain of the NSW Breakers, in career-best form and fitter than ever before.
And she believes it’s put her in the best possible place for an action-packed World T20 that will see Australia play three matches in the next five days, and for a long summer ahead that will see the squad fly directly to Melbourne at the conclusion of the tournament to begin the Rebel WBBL.
"I had a fantastic preseason for the Breakers and I guess taking over the captaincy as well as sort of gave me a bit of an ultimatum to lift my game on the training field," she explained.
"And I guess every area of my game in that department has lifted. I'm stronger, fitter, faster, naturally. I'm in a good space heading into a huge sort of three or four months of cricket."
2018 ICC Women's World T20
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
November 9: Australia v Pakistan, Province Stadium, Guyana
November 11: Australia v Ireland, Province Stadium
November 13: Australia v New Zealand, Province Stadium
November 17: Australia v India, Province Stadium
November 22: Semi-finals, Sir Vivian Richards Ground, Antigua
November 24: Final, Sir Vivian Richards Ground