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Alyssa Healy, the accidental wicketkeeper

Winning the World T20 would be the best way for Ian Healy’s niece to explain why she has missed her marine biology classes recently
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Healy is one of the more recognisable surnames in Australian cricket. Ian, the wicketkeeper, called time on his 11-year international career in 1999, and it was roughly around the same time that Alyssa, his niece, started playing cricket, not by choice but by chance, but while it wasn’t het favourite sport back then, 15 years on, she’s certainly made a name for herself.
 
"Today, I think that was the best ever decision," said Alyssa, part of the Australia Women team at the ICC Women's World T20 2014. "I started playing with the boys at the Carlingford Waratahs Club in New South Wales. I wanted to be a bowler but wasn’t too good at it, so the boys gave me the gloves and said this is your best place. 
 
"So I had no choice but to keep, else I couldn't play. We were given the gloves on rotation and when my turn came, maybe I did something right. So that was when I decided I’d take up keeping. It was just a coincidence that my uncle Ian was also a wicketkeeper for Australia."
 
It’s a different story altogether that it wasn’t Ian who she looked at for advice when she finally decided to become a specialist wicketkeeper. "I owe a lot to Christina Matthews," said Alyssa of the former Australia Women stumper, who played 20 Tests and 47 One-Day Internationals. "While growing up, my uncle was obviously away a great deal, so I didn't particularly look up to him for advice or suggestion.
 
"At that stage, I needed guidance, and Christina took me under her wings at the age of 12 at New South Wales. She has been my mentor and someone who has shaped my career to where it is today. Hopefully she will continue to have a big influence in the future as well."
 
It’s been four years since Alyssa, 24, made her international debut. For a majority of those years, she has had to live under the shadow of Jodie Fields, the first-choice wicketkeeper, who till not long ago was captain of the team as well. But Fields's late withdrawal from the World T20 due to a combination of injury and poor form meant Alyssa had the opportunity to don the gloves.
 
"Definitely those were big boots to fill as Jodie has been around for a long time," said Alyssa. "Being the second wicketkeeper is the hardest role to play, but even when Jodie was around, I knew I needed to succeed as a specialist batter if I were to have a future. The pressure of knowing you had to be on your mark all the time brought focus into my life, because I worked that much harder at my game."
 
While Alyssa admitted that she had plenty more to do to carve a niche of her own, it can’t be denied she has already played an important role in Australia's road to the World T20 final, where they would attempt a hat-trick of titles, on Sunday.
 
After scoring 41, 0, 9 and 20 at the top of the order in the group matches, Alyssa dropped down the batting order in the semi-final against West Indies and Jess Jonassen, the left-arm spinner who has very little credo with the bat, was asked to open. Even if Alyssa was hurt, it didn't show in her body language and her unbeaten 21-ball 30 at No. 7 was instrumental in Australia posting total of 140, which proved just enough despite Deandra Dottin's blitzkrieg as West Indies fell eight short.
 
"I think it was just one of those days where it worked for me, honestly," said Alyssa. "I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any pressure at all. I probably was over-analysing my game at the top of the order, thinking about how I would build my innings. When I came lower down, I didn’t have a choice, so maybe that did the trick of me."
 
The final pitted two traditional rivals in what promised to be an engaging battle. Both sides have attracted a lot of attention across the cricketing community back home and are in the midst of turning fully professional at some stage in the not too distant future.
 
But for Alyssa, while cricket took up much of her time, it wasn’t the only thing in her life. "Studies form an important part of my life at the moment," said Alyssa, who is studying marine biology. "I’ve missed plenty of lectures over the summer in order to prepare for this tournament, so I’ll have to catch up on all the courses I’ve missed and, of course, finish my course. A win here would be the icing on the cake, no doubt."

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1 June - 18 June 2017

No fixtures available.

ODI
Final, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | The Oval, London
Pakistan won by 180 runs
Pakistan
338/4
India
158
Match Centre
ODI
Semi Final 2, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Edgbaston, Birmingham
India won by 9 wickets
Bangladesh
264/7
India
265/1
Match Centre
ODI
Semi Final 1, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
Pakistan won by 8 wickets
England
211
Pakistan
215/2
Match Centre
ODI
Match 12, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
Pakistan won by 3 wickets
Sri Lanka
236
Pakistan
237/7
Match Centre
ODI
Match 11, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | The Oval, London
India won by 8 wickets
India
193/2
South Africa
191
Match Centre
ODI
Match 10, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Edgbaston, Birmingham
England won by 40 runs (DLS Method)
England
240/4
Australia
277/9
Match Centre
ODI
Match 9, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
Bangladesh won by 5 wickets
New Zealand
265/8
Bangladesh
268/5
Match Centre
ODI
Match 8, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | The Oval, London
Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets
India
321/6
Sri Lanka
322/3
Match Centre
ODI
Match 7, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Edgbaston, Birmingham
Pakistan won by 19 runs (DLS Method)
Pakistan
119/3
South Africa
219/8
Match Centre
ODI
Match 6, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
England won by 87 runs
England
310
New Zealand
223
Match Centre

Group A

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 England 3 +1.045 6
2 Bangladesh 3 +0.000 3
3 Australia 3 -0.992 2
4 New Zealand 3 -1.058 1

Group B

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 India 3 +1.370 4
2 Pakistan 3 -0.680 4
3 South Africa 3 +0.167 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.798 2
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