Alyssa Healy, Mitchell Starc: cricket’s power couple grab eyeballs in India

Gaps between teams are reducing this WPL season, captain of UP Warriorz says

Alyssa Healy at press conference (photo: @manujaveerappa/X)
Alyssa Healy at press conference (photo: @manujaveerappa/X)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

It will be certainly a ‘first’ to see a power couple in cricket make their mark in both the T20 franchise leagues in India — the ongoing Women’s Premier League (WPL) and the IPL (Indian Premier League) in three weeks’ time. No prizes for guessing, one is talking about Alyssa Healy who is leading the UP Warriorz’ resurgence and her husband Mitchell Starc, whose price tag of Rs 24.75 crore from KKR has come in for some stinging criticism.

While the much-decorated Healy has been a part of both editions of WPL so far, Starc is making a comeback to IPL after eight long seasons. While the jury is still out on Starc, the smiles are back in the Warriorz’ camp as they bounced back with an upset win against Mumbai Indians and beat Gujarat Giants on Friday, clawing up to third place in the five-team league after starting with back-to-back losses.

A wicketkeeper-opening batter, Healy has been playing an Adam Gilchrist kind of role for the Australia women’s team for close to 14 years now. The Healy effect was on display at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru as, chasing a target of 143, she gave her team the perfect start in the powerplay with 33 off 21 balls. 

‘’Obviously, the international experience of over 10 years helps. My job is to help the team get off to a good start and once we were looking at run-a-ball, there was not much of a problem,’’ Healy said after the match.

Alyssa Healy overpowers an intruder during the MI game
Alyssa Healy overpowers an intruder during the MI game
(photo: @manujaveerappa/X)

Now the same age as Starc at 33, Healy — along with compatriots Meg Lanning (Delhi Capitals) and Elysse Perry (Royal Challengers Bangalore) — have been part of a golden generation in women’s cricket who are still ruling the roost. She has won five T20 World Cups (2010, 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2020) and the ODI World Cup in New Zealand in 2023.

She has 2,446 T20I runs under her belt at a strike rate of nearly 128, with one century and 14 half-centuries, and also led the national T20I side in India recently when regular captain Meg took a break from the game. Back home, she has captained Sydney Sixers in the WBBL.

Barely two days ago, Healy showed her tough Aussie face when she lunged at a male intruder during their match against Mumbai, and held him at bay until security personnel intervened. Social media went viral with photos of her in ‘action’, with the warning: don’t mess with an Aussie.

‘’It’s almost surreal that after nothing from the first two games, we now have two out of four and are sitting at number three. The schedule is such that you don’t get much time to think after a game, but my message in the change room was pretty much the same — to play with the same effort and energy and not to get into a shell,’’ said Healy, whose Warriorz will be taking on home team Royal Challengers Bangalore next on Monday.

Finally, how does the veteran see the WPL evolving in the first two seasons? ‘’The teams have done a good job in unearthing domestic players. It’s an improvement from the first season when they relied more on overseas professionals and as a result, the gaps between the teams have reduced,’’ she said.

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