The ultimate goal is to play 360: Alyssa Healy

Alyssa Healy in action against India. © ICC

Alyssa Healy revealed that she has used the extended break away from the game to further develop her batting in an attempt to become a ‘360-degree’ player. Ahead of the limited overs bilateral series against New Zealand that will mark the return of international cricket to Australia, the wicketkeeper-batter said she has a few new tricks up her sleeve and hopes to be able to showcase her skills against New Zealand.

“I did sit down after celebrating for a month with my batting coach and discussed a few things to work on,” she said. “So you might see some new, different things in this series. I don’t want to give away too many secrets to the Kiwis, but I’ve been preparing for a few things in particular … so stay tuned.”

“It was a great opportunity for me to go back and work on things that I hadn’t really touched for a while. I’d obviously made a few technical changes a couple of years ago and they paid off beautifully, but I guess you never want to be standing still as a cricketer – you want to keep learning, growing and developing and there’s always areas of your game that you want to work on. I was fortunate enough to have enough time to do that and hopefully it pays off. But if not, I’ll just keep grinding anyway.”

“The ultimate goal in cricket is to be able to play 360 (degrees) and there’s some areas I’m not quite hitting. So I’ve been trying a few things to see if I can get the ball there, so you will have to see if they come out.”

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After playing a central role in Australia’s fifth T20 World Cup triumph in Melbourne earlier this year, Healy spent much of the next five months stuck to the confines of her home in Sydney. However, she is now back on the field, preparing to bludgeon opposition in submission again.

While admitting that it would have been ideal for the team to capitalise on the momentum gained during the World Cup, she said she hopes the side will be able to pick up where they left off. Australia will play in front of a “sellout crowd” at the Allan Border Field come Saturday (September 26) – something Healy is thrilled about.

“It would have been amazing to have another series right after the World Cup but in saying that we are going to be the first series here in Ausrealia up and running again, so it’s almost like we are going to kick off right where we left off.”

“It’s a nice feeling to read that it’s sold out. I don’t think any of my family have even bought any of those tickets – so it’s a good thing,” she laughed. “Normally there’s 50-odd Healys on the hill, but we always get a real great crowd here in Brisbane – they are very vocal, very passionate about Queensland cricket. So to have a few Queenslander in our side is always an advantage, but it’s great to see the passion behind our side.”

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I think everyone’s just excited to get out there and play cricket, and I’m excited to see what this group of people can achieve with 6 months rest. I think every time we come back from a major tournament we’re straight back into something else, so for us to have the ability to have a little bit of down time… Hopefully there’s some really goof things for the Aussie women’s team.

Having spent two weeks in quarantine with the New South Wales and Victoria-based members of the Australian squad, the group were joined by the rest of the 18-member squad on Monday (September 21). The team had their first full training session on Tuesday with Ellyse Perry taking a small part as well.

© Getty Images

Ellyse Perry has resumed training. © Getty Images

The allrounder, who underwent surgery after suffering a hamstring injury during the T20 World Cup had earlier said she is tracking well and will likely take part in the series against New Zealand. While heaping praise on her good friend, Healy said everyone was amazed at the rate of Perry’s recovery, and they hopes to see her back in action soon.

“It was a surprise to most of us that she was here, knowing the severity of the injury and seeing the whopping scar she’s got on her hamstring,” Healy said. “It just shows the ultimate professional that she is; fingers crossed we can see her out on the park but we’ll have to wait and see.”

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But if Perry has to wait a little longer or miss out on a few games through the series, Australia can always call upon the services of young Annabel Sutherland who’s whirlwind 12 months saw her earn a place in the T20 World Cup side. Healy said the youngster has improved immensely over the break and looks all set to impose herself on the international arena.

“She’s almost taken her game to the next level over this six-month break. She’s bowling a really heavy ball at the moment in the nets which is making it quite challenging for us to face, and she’s hitting the ball ridiculously hard as well.”

“She’s got a great opportunity to learn from the best allrounder in the world in Pez (Perry) and hone her skills. But what she is showing at the minute is incredibly exciting and hopefully she gets ample opportunity in the green and gold this summer,” she added.

Australia will kick off the series with the first T20I against New Zealand this weekend.

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