Alyssa Healy wants to help take Australia’s all-conquering women’s cricket team to even greater heights after officially replacing Meg Lanning as captain across all three formats.
Gun wicketkeeper-batter Healy filled in for Lanning as skipper for extended spells over the past two years, including during this year’s Ashes.
Now the 33-year-old, who was named vice-captain last year, will step into the role full-time after Lanning’s shock international retirement last month.
Allrounder Tahlia McGrath, 28, has been named vice-captain and looms as the heir apparent, having already led Australia in a one-day international against Ireland in July.
The decision to appoint Healy and McGrath was ratified at a Cricket Australia (CA) board meeting on Friday.
Healy said the presentation process had reinforced her desire to become captain, with two World Cups on the horizon.
“(It) probably just ratified things in my own head about, ‘Yep, this is exactly what I want to do’. I want to help create a new legacy for this Australian team,” Healy said.
“It sort of gave me an opportunity that, ‘This is what I want to achieve. And this is where I’d like to take the group for a certain amount of time’.
“We can achieve great things in that time, but more so set it up for the next 10 years to be really successful.”
Healy, a regular matchwinner across her 255-game career, will lead Australia’s attempts to keep international cricket’s chasing pack at bay, including at next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Having certainty around leadership, with Healy and McGrath working alongside coach Shelley Nitschke, will only help.
“We wanted Meg to come back and we wanted Meg to lead the side,” Healy said.
“But it was just sort of filling in while we could and also probably living series-to-series, which we identified that’s not probably doing us any favours.
“We actually need to look long term and work towards World Cups and work towards big series and tournaments.
“Having a more permanent role and a bit more clarity around that, it gives all three of us as the leadership with this side an opportunity to stamp our mark and get the group to where we want to, to hopefully hold up a trophy next year in Bangladesh.”
Healy’s reign will begin in earnest later this month after she declared herself a near-certain starter for the red-ball Test against India in Mumbai on December 21, after a bad finger injury.
Healy said she hoped to draw on some elements of her predecessor’s leadership.
“What I’ve learned from Meg over her leadership is how resilient she is, and also her ability to just pick up all of the team, put them on her shoulders and go, ‘I’m going to go out there and win the game for for my side’,” Healy said.
“That probably hasn’t always been the way that I’ve played my career, and it’s probably not been the way that I’ve led either.
“But if I can find some sort of middle ground in that regard, and go, ‘You know what? It’s my time to go out there and win the game or play the innings or take the catch…’, then I’m going to do that as a leader and hopefully show the others that we can do it.”