I am a frustrated fast bowler, says 'keeper Healy

She thanked the men in yellow who contributed big last month for a health insurance scheme for women players. "It’s fantastic that the men chipped in with a fair chunk of money. We’re really grateful for the boys."

"From the small time I’ve been involved playing international cricket, I can say that it’s (women's cricket) grown exponentially," says Alyssa Healy.   -  M. Vedhan

To Ian Healy she’s akin with glovework profile. Also, she is Mitchell Starc’s fiancé. However, to project Alyssa Healy as either is a bit unfair, for on her own she has a world cup, three world T20s, and an Ashes triumph to her name. The curiosity though is on the influence of these men on her career. She spoke, pith and fine, on self and otherwise at the Guru Nanak College here on Saturday.

“Uncle (Ian Healy) helps me whenever he can,” she says of the 51-year old former glovesman who once held the world record for most test dismissals by a wicket-keeper. But it was Australia’s world cup winning captains, a couple of them, who inspired her the most. “I used to love watching Steve Waugh. I guess a lot of my batting comes from watching Ricky Ponting over and over again.”

Fast bowling was her first love. “I’m a frustrated fast bowler; always wanted to be a fast bowler. But I didn’t groom myself to be one and accidentally fell into the wicketkeeper’s role. I still bowl in the nets whenever I can though.”

Complementary relationship

Asked playfully on whether that’s the reason she’s engaged to a fast bowler, she’s quick to blush and quip, “Yeah, maybe. I’m living vicariously through him.”

She then briefs on the complementary nature of their relationship. “There’s not too much cricket that’s spoken at home. But we’re in a lucky position where we both know exactly what one another’s going through. When someone has a hard day, the other would easily know what exactly happened. He’s always been a big support at home.”

Harking back to the time they used play together, she says, “We actually grew up playing together. We used to share wicket-keeping when we started playing cricket. He obviously grew up to become 6’5’’ (chuckles). In the recent past, I’ve kept wickets to him when he wanted to get started with the ball after returning from an injury; but not when he’s fully fit and bowling in his element at full pace. It’s a bit scary for me.”

Shifting her focus to the purpose of her visit (it’s her fourth time at the World T20 in India), she says, “I had a discussion with him (Starc) about a few grounds and how it is like to play here. He’s only had a little bit of experience here, but it’s nice coming from a bowler’s point of view.”

Big strides

On the growth of women’s cricket, she says, “From the small time I’ve been involved playing international cricket, I can say that it’s grown exponentially. With the start of all these leagues around the world – the women’s big bash (in Australia) was a major success and the advent of women’s super league (in England) - there’s potential for girls to earn more money playing cricket and have it as a career full time. The opportunities are endless. It only keeps growing.”

She thanked the men in yellow who contributed big last month for a health insurance scheme for women players. “It’s fantastic that the men chipped in with a fair chunk of money. We’re really grateful for the boys.”