Fourteen years since Ian Healy bid adieu to the game, his niece Alyssa is taking baby steps in her journey in cricket. Apart from donning the gloves for Australia, Ian Healy’s chirpiness behind the stumps played havoc with the concentration of many opposition batsmen.
The 22-year-old Alyssa, who is a part of the Australia women’s team for the World Cup starting on January 31, is following in her uncle’s footsteps, quite literally. Not only is Alyssa one of the most talkative members on the field, she is a wicketkeeper batswoman herself.
As the ever-smiling Alyssa walks up for a chat she obliges a few volunteers, who have just realised her family’s presence in cricket history, with photographs. “He (Healy) has been a massive influence. Once I decided to become a wicketkeeper, his success played a significant role,” Alyssa tells HT, after her team’s warm-up game against the West Indies at the MIG ground on Monday.
Alyssa, who was the first girl to play amongst boys in a private schools’ competition, believes that Healy is just a phone call away. “He has seen me develop as a wicketkeeper. Whenever I need help, he is always there,” she says.
When Alyssa was in India for a bilateral series in early 2012, she had claimed that she had a long way to go before she could be compared with her uncle. While she played only one of the five One-Day Internationals, she was the shining light in the three T20s finishing as the highest run-getter for the team.
That stint helped Starc, girlfriend of Australian pacer Mitchell Starc, to strengthen her place. With the women’s World Cup being held in India, she is upbeat about delivering a standout performance.