Alyssa Healy has opened up on some of the uncertainty that surrounded Meg Lanning's absence from the Australian cricket team and what it meant for the captaincy, as well as some of the key learnings she's taken from the former skipper. Healy was confirmed as Australia's new women's cricket captain on Saturday after Lanning announced her retirement from international level last month.
The star wicket-keeper will lead Australia in all three formats, with Tahlia McGrath the new vice-captain. Healy had filled in for Lanning on a number of occasions over the last few years as the former captain took a break from the game for personal reasons.
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Lanning's absences sparked uncertainty around the team and its future, but Healy said having a new leadership team cemented would only prove beneficial. "We wanted Meg to come back and we wanted Meg to lead the side," Healy said on Saturday.
"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."
Healy and McGrath will working alongside coach Shelley Nitschke as the Aussies look forward and eye next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh. "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," she added.
What Alyssa Healy has learned from Meg Lanning's captaincy
The 33-year-old said she would use some elements of Lanning's leadership, as well as some new ideas of her own. "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."
With Healy already 33, McGrath (28) appears to be the captain-in-waiting. Healy said she is determined to empower a young group of leaders in the Australian team.
"There's a great group of leaders in our group that haven't had the opportunities to lead a lot - especially in the domestic game, but also at the international level," Healy said. "And that's going to be a real key to how we drive things. It's about finding the next leaders in Australian cricket.
"There's some outstanding ones that are quite senior in our group that are doing it quite consistently in domestic cricket and the WBBL. So it's about finding that next rung of leaders and giving them the freedom to want to lead within our side, and encourage them to do so. That's part of my role."
McGrath captained Australia in a one-day international against Ireland in July, and has skippered the Adelaide Strikers to back-to-back titles in the WBBL. Heather Graham (27) captains the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL, while Ashleigh Gardner (26) and Annabel Sutherland (22) have previously filled in as skipper for the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars respectively.
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