The ICC T20 World Cup might be dominating our screens right now, but let’s not forget the Australian women’s team is set for a busy summer of cricket too.
With captain of the women’s national team Meg Lanning unavailable due to medical reasons, Alyssa Healy, 33, has stepped up to lead the team.
The wicket-keeper was handed the position on the eve of the 2023 Ashes, and under her captaincy, Australia retained the urn. She is now guiding the team through a three-match T20 international series, and a three-match ODI (One Day International) series against the West Indies.
Known affectionately as ‘Midge’, Alyssa has described herself as “a very different leader” to her predecessor. “I’m a different personality,” she told Cricket Australia. “It’s about me putting my spin on that role.” The 33-year-old has credited her “encouraging” team for their support while she navigates the position in Meg’s absence.
How long has Alyssa Healy been playing cricket for Australia?
At just 19 years old, Alyssa made her international debut for Australia during the 2010 Rose Bowl series against New Zealand. Since then, her career has flourished. She became vice captain in 2022, and is now acting captain, with Tahlia McGrath as second in charge.
Cricket runs in the blood of the right-handed batter. Her father, Greg Healy, and her uncle, Ken Healy, both played for Queensland. Her other uncle, Ian Healy, was a wicket-keeper for Australia. And cricket continues to be part of her chosen family too.
Is Alyssa Healy married to Mitchell Starc?
Yes, Alyssa is married to the left-arm fast bowler who represents Australia in the men’s national cricket team.
At just nine years old, Alyssa and Mitchell Starc played against each other in a junior cricket association. They soon shared wicket-keeping duties in an under-11s team, coached by Paul Starc, Mitchell’s late father. When Alyssa transferred to women’s cricket six years later, she and Mitchell remained friends. That was until October 2010 when things turned romantic.
“Before his first Australian tour to India we had a two to three-week period where we pretty much hung out every day,” Alyssa told News Ltd in 2013. “Just before he flew out, we questioned what was going on and whether this was actually happening. We kind of just fell into it, being friends for a period of time before that. It just happened.”
In 2016, they were married.
While it was cricket that led to Midge deemed Mitchell her “best friend”. The couple don’t let the game dominate their personal lives.
“We don’t talk too much cricket,” Alyssa told Cricket Australia. “We try and leave the cricket side to our coaches and teammates when we are on tour, and when you get home it is nice to have somebody else to talk to away from the game.”
While having someone who understands the nuances of the game is comforting for both Alyssa and Mitchell, the wicket-keeper cherishes the other common interests she has with her husband.
“If we go down the park we would normally take a footy, or do something other than cricket related,” Alyssa said.
Is Alyssa Healy retiring from cricket?
Not anytime soon. In September 2023, Alyssa signed a three-year contract extension with the Sydney Sixers.
“I’ve changed my mind multiple times, and (Mitchell and I) laugh about it at home every now and then,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Mitch has changed his mind a thousand times as well, and we talk about life after cricket quite a lot.
“But for me, I still love my job. I still love waking up every day and going to play cricket, and I think the day that that stops is the day that I won’t be here anymore. I still obviously want to be good enough and contribute as well, and I never want to overstay my welcome.”
Are we seeing more interest in women’s cricket?
The recent success of the Matildas, Australia’s national soccer team, has had a knock-on effect on other sports, like cricket.
Cricket Australia recorded a significant growth in female participation, with women sign-ups increasing by 26 per cent for the 2022-23 season, as per the official CA census. CA’s general manager of community cricket, James Allsopp, told the AAP that representation of professional female athletes, no matter the sport, is beneficial at all levels.
“For young girls to see that in multiple sports, there’s a genuine opportunity to make your career through sport; whether it’s through administration, coaching, officiating, but most importantly playing, so absolutely we’re seeing that flow through to the grassroots of the game.
“It’s just amazing what’s happened at the elite end and how it’s just having that flow-on effect to inspiring the next generation of girls coming through our grassroots program.”