Alyssa Healy too scared to look at summer schedule; Ellyse Perry likely to play in WBBL06 opener

Alyssa Healy in action. © Women's CricZone

Ellyse Perry is expected to play in the Sydney Sixers’ opener against Sydney Thunder on Sunday (October 25) when the sixth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) gets underway, her teammate Alyssa Healy told reporters.

The star allrounder was ruled out in the middle of the T20 World Cup earlier this year due to a hamstring injury for which she had to go under the knife. She recovered and was included in Australia’s limited-overs series against New Zealand last month, but sustained a low-grade strain somewhere near her previous injury, resulting in another delay to her return.

“Pez (Perry) has trained and prepared to play and we fully expect her to play,” Healy said during a virtual media conference on Tuesday (October 20). The wicketkeeper-batter will move into the WBBL village in Sydney on Thursday (October 22) ahead of the five-week tournament.

However, Healy is worried about the uncertain summer schedule that looms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means she won’t be able to see her husband, Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc who will likely be busy with his international commitments against India, until 2021.

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In an attempt to keep the mental wellbeing of the players in place, the organisers will allow a ‘support person’, in the WBBL bubble under strict guidelines, but Starc won’t be available as he will be heading to Adelaide to join New South Wales’ Sheffield Shield team, cutting any chances of a meet-up.

“I’m too scared to look at the schedule. I don’t even know what he has on,” Healy said before stating she is really focused on the five important weeks ahead. “For me, I’m going to get stuck into the WBBL and if I get the chance to see him after that, I’ll jump at it. At this stage, I am really focused on the next five weeks.”

“That’s the nature of 2020 and what it’s thrown at us and I know Cricket Australia and the ACA (Australia Cricket Association) have done a lot of work in making sure that player welfare is at the forefront. If players need their partners around or if payers need to take time out of their hubs, this goes for the male and female teams, they’ll grant them that,” she added.

The organisers have created areas in the ‘village’ for the players to hang out and relax during what is going to be a grueling schedule that includes 13 games in 28 days with several back-to-back fixtures. “It’s going to be a tough five or six weeks mentally, especially for the Sydney sides, we are at home but not at home […] watching Sydney go about their normal lives,” Healy said.

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“It could be challenging but at the same time, we get an opportunity to play a full season. I am pretty sure after being on a few Zoom calls they have literally thought of everything and we are going to be extremely well looked after for the five weeks we are in there.”

Healy also stated that they are lucky to have some cricket back during this tough time and the players will adjust to any kind of circumstance put in front to play. “It’s the nature of 2020 and how we are going to play our cricket for the foreseeable future. Pretty excited about the opportunities and more excited to get cricket underway.”

“All the 18 girls have lived up to this moment. It’s a strange year and to have the opportunity to play in the WBBL, all the players will adjust. We have another trial game tomorrow (October 21) against Renegades, I think we have got access to the whole squad and ready to get underway on Sunday,” she concluded.

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