Following an impressive 12 months with the willow, Alyssa Healy has been named ICC T20 Player of the Year for 2018. After bagging numerous Player of the Match and Series awards, this was the only accolade remaining to top off what has been a sensational year for Healy in T20s.
Reacting to the news, Alyssa Healy said: “It’s obviously a huge honour. I enjoyed some form over the last couple of months, thoroughly enjoyed playing for the Aussie team in the T20I format. Winning the ICC Women’s World T20 final against England is something pretty special, especially after a disappointing couple of years in World Cups. That win against them, a dominant performance, was pretty special and one I will never forget. When I first started playing for Australia I never thought that I would achieve anything like this. It’s a huge honour and one that I will not take lightly.”
Though her T20 performance in the Southern Stars’ first tour of 2018 may not have gone her way, Healy found her groove as the year progressed. The Southern Stars first assignment of the year was a tri-series in India, which also involved England. Healy came into the series on the back of some good form, having just smashed her maiden international ton in the ODI leg of the tour. However, she could not repeat the fireworks during the T20Is. In her five innings, her top score was 33 off 24. She amassed 83 runs over the course of the series, at an average of 16.50.
After what was an underwhelming performance at the top of the order for Healy, she returned to Australia with her teammates. Their next T20 series was scheduled in late September, heading into October, against their trans-Tasman foes, New Zealand. The squad had not defeated New Zealand in a T20 series, nor had they registered a T20 series win at home over the past couple of years. This time, they were determined to do so, and Healy was up for the challenge. She scored just 14 in her first match against New Zealand, but then found formidable form. In the next match, she scored 57 off 41, and in the match that followed, smashed 67 off 44. For finishing as the highest run-scorer, she was adjudged Player-of-the-Series.
Shortly afterwards, Australia headed to Kuala Lumpur to face Pakistan. Despite never having played there before, Healy took no time to adjust to the foreign conditions. Instead, she smoked 59 off 35 balls to register her third half-century on the trot. In the third T20, she hammered her way to yet another half-century, when she hit 67* off 41. For her 132 runs in the series, more than anyone else’s, Healy earned back-to-back Player-of-the-Series awards.
But she was not done yet. The biggest hurdle was next; the T20 World Cup. With no silverware in their cabinet at the time, Australia were desperate to take the elusive trophy home, and Healy made the mission as easy for her teammates as she could. She was in such fine touch that she made batting look effortless, seemingly scoring runs for fun. In the group stages, Healy registered scores of 48, 56*and 53. She was named Player-of-the-Match on each occasion. After missing out on batting against India due a mild concussion, Healy was back to her match-winning ways in the semi-final. For her 46 off 38, she was once again adjudged Player-of-the-Match. After a stellar tournament, where she amassed 225 in five innings, it came as no surprise that she was the Player-of-the-Tournament.
In 2018, Healy amassed a total of 578 runs. On her way there, she scored 88 boundaries and cleared the ropes 11 times. In-form Healy is showing no signs of slowing down, currently dominating in the WBBL, having just recorded her first ton of WBBL 04. Going on her insatiable appetite to score runs, another century may be on the cards.