Murray Wenzel / AAP News
Alyssa Healy has vivid memories of Australia’s thrilling Commonwealth Games netball gold 20 years ago and grew up marking many of the current Hockeyroos.
So the unabashed sports fan, and world-class wicketkeeper-batsman, is in her element as Australia’s all-conquering women’s cricket team prepare for the T20 format’s debut in Birmingham.
The world champions will play India at a sold-out Edgbaston to begin proceedings on Friday.
The Australia team is staying with the other cricket sides and the beach volleyball contingent in a hotel, but they’re able to take a short stroll to one of the main athlete villages nearby.
“It means quite a lot,” Healy said of their historic Games inclusion that comes after the one-off men’s 50-over event contested in 1998.
“It’s a new experience for our group, new opportunity in a new competition and to be part of a greater Australian team, seeing that pride and passion has been special to be a part of.”
Heal y smashed 170 in the 50-over World Cup final in April but was starved of centre-wicket time in a rain-impacted tour of Ireland before their arrival in England.
“I played more golf than I did batting (in Ireland) … but we’ll be completely fine,” she said.
Indian captain Smriti Mandhana began the mind games earlier this week when she refused to label Australia a big team “and make them feel good about that”.
“I read an interesting comment from Smriti that she wouldn’t give us credit as a big team, but my point of view is India are a big side and what a great way to start the competition against one of the best teams in the world,” Healy said.
“In the T20 World Cup we stumbled at that first hurdle (in a pool game loss to India), but come Friday we’ll be raring to go.
“It’s basically a World Cup when you look at the sides here … we want to add to that medal tally to the Australian team.”