Alyssa Healy forgot her Baggy Green when she left for the Australian Ashes campaign, but that shouldn’t be taken as a lack of enthusiasm for the format.
Healy is eager to take on the attack on England’s new balls after being denied her chance during back-to-back T20I washouts over the weekend.
“Good news, the Baggy Green has arrived,” said Healy, who left the prized possession in her closet at home but was reunited with it when husband Mitch Starc joined her in Adelaide.
“It’s neatly tucked away in my bag being shipped to Canberra, so that’s a huge win.
“I’m really looking forward to the test match, we’ve never had the chance to play two in one summer, so it’s going to be very exciting to get that chance.”
Healy had a lackluster Weber WBBL campaign with the bat, hitting 213 runs on 19 of 13 innings for the Sydney Sixers and later revealing that she struggled with an elbow complaint throughout the tournament.
Now back to full fitness, and after hitting an undefeated 99 in a warm-up match before being sent off for seven in the only T20I that wasn’t a washout, the 31-year-old is keen to spend more in the middle.
“I’m actually a little quietly excited about the opportunity for some longer format cricket, the test match and then the one-day match leads to a World Cup,” she continued.
“I feel like everything is back where it should be for me on the fold.
“It may not have looked like that in the first T20, but I feel like I’m in a really good place again with my batting.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to just spend some time in the middle and hopefully put my team in a really good position to win, be it a test match or a one-day race.”
Healy expects to open the battle at Manuka Oval, having done so in Australia’s last two Test matches – against England in 2019 and against India earlier this summer.
She’s not yet sure if she’ll be joined by one-day opening partner Rachael Haynes or her T20 counterpart Beth Mooney for the four-day match, but she’s confident she can continue to manage the sheer amount of wicketkeeping and the at bat in a Test match.
“It hasn’t really come up in the discussion that I wouldn’t be (opening), so I’m assuming I’m still doing that job,” she said.
“There are ongoing talks about (holding and opening), the approach we took in that last test match we played was ‘we’ll see how we go’.
“If things don’t go quite according to plan, or if we’re in the field for an extended period of time, and I’m feeling fatigued, we’ll make that decision right away and maybe I won’t start.
“But I’ll always raise my hand and say I’m ready to go and make a contribution, whether that’s at the top of the order or with the gloves, so I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
Australia and England have just two days and two training sessions to prepare for a format they rarely play.
But Healy supported Australia’s recent approach of approaching it like they would a one-day international, rather than getting bogged down in thinking they had to completely change their tactics for a one-off test.
“We don’t, we don’t play a lot of them, so we can’t really go in there with this great Testmatch mentality,” she explained.
“We still want to keep the scoreboard as high as we can, you will encounter short bouts which will be really challenging – I watch the spell of (Indian fast bowler) Jhulan Goswami’s spell against us early in the summer, the other girls endured that and then cashed in on the back.
“We’re just approaching it the only way we know how and that’s playing really good one-day cricket, just with a little more patience and a little more time to show your skills.
“We also want a result in these friendlies and I think the only way we can force one is by playing aggressive cricket.”
Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes v England
Australia Ashes Squad: Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Rachael Haynes (vc), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland
England Ashes squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Maia Bouchier, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver (vc), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers , Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt
Australia leads the multi-format 4-2 . series
January 20: Australia won by nine wickets
Jan 22: No result
January 23: Match Leaving without a ball thrown
January 27-30: Test Match, Manuka Oval, 10 a.m. AEDT,
February 3: First ODI, Manuka Oval (D/N), 2:10 PM AEDT
February 6: Second ODI, Junction Oval, 10:05 AM AEDT
February 8th: Third ODI, Junction Oval, 10:05 AM AEDT