Alyssa Healy disappointed to miss out on Women's T20 Challenge

Australia cricketer Alyssa Healy, the Player of the Final at the Women's T20 World Cup held earlier this year, hopes the clash with WBBL is a one-off.

Alyssa Healy celebrates her half-century at the Women's T20 World Cup final against India in March.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Australia’s Alyssa Healy is disappointed that Indian stars like Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues will not be able to play in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) this year as the tournament dates clash with the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Women’s T20 Challenge. But Healy, the Player of the Final at the Women's T20 World Cup held earlier this year, says it’s fantastic that the BCCI is keen to get a full-fledged Women’s T20 Challenge underway at some point.

The Women’s T20 Challenge will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 1-10, parallelly with the business end of the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. With the WBBL slated to be held from October 17-November 29, several players from Australia, including Healy and Rachael Haynes, will be forced to miss the women’s exhibition T20 matches in the UAE.

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Healy, who earlier expressed her disappointment on social media about the Women’s T20 Challenge being played when the WBBL would be on, explains the rationale behind her discontent, why a fully-fledged Women’s IPL is crucial to women’s cricket, and the importance of sport returning to Australia.

The WBBL will miss the likes of Harmanpreet, Smriti and Jemimah because of the clash with the Women’s T20 Challenge. Your thoughts?

Firstly, I think it’s fantastic that the BCCI are really keen to get a fully-fledged WIPL underway at some point and this is another step forward to making that happen. I’m disappointed that those girls won’t be able to take part in the WBBL. However, it’s such a great competition, and having the best players from around the world as a part of it creates such great competition for all involved, and we’ve seen the benefits of that in the international game. With the pandemic playing its part in the scheduling for this year, I hope it’s a one-off, as there is no reason that the elite domestic competitions need to compete with each other as we want them all to flourish.

Alyssa Healy (right) and Harmanpreet Kaur in action at the 50-over World Cup in 2017.   -  FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

 

Had the Women’s T20 challenge taken place at another time, would you have been willing to fly down to either the UAE or India to participate despite the growing nature of the pandemic?

Of course, I think that’s where most of my disappointment of the timing stems from. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience a few years ago and can see the importance of growing the women’s game in India. I’m sure all of the international players around the globe would be sticking their hands up to be involved if selected and would be keen to be a part of something special!

The WBBL will get underway from October 17. Given the circumstances, just how significant an event is it for women’s sport and cricket in general?

It’ll be great to be back on the field playing again, that’s for sure! The real buzz that the T20 World Cup created earlier this year was unbelievable, so hopefully we can pick up that momentum again and see the women’s game back on the TV.

A full 59-game WBBL is a big leg-up for world sport. Australia has been at the forefront of getting all sports back on their feet. As an athlete, how encouraging has all of this been?

It’s been great to see all the sports here in Australia being able to adapt to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic. Sport is really the lifeblood of this country. So for us to be able to watch and play sport again is a real boost to morale. I know Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association’ are working really hard to ensure that players and the communities hosting games will be protected as they try and get games underway. There are bigger factors at play here with Covid-19 and we have to make sure that we are looking after the community and ourselves.

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