Mumbai : Australia captain Alyssa Healy has been ruled out of the fifth and final T20I against India, to be held at Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday, after suffering a calf strain in Saturday’s series-clinching seven-run win.
Tahlia McGrath, the vice-captain, said in the pre-match press conference that she will lead Australia in the final match of the series. She had taken over as captain of Australia during their defence of 173.
Alyssa, who took over as Australia captain for the tour of India in the absence of Meg Lanning, strained her calf while batting in the sixth over of the fourth T20I. She limped from the ground after being retired hurt and took no further part in the match.
Tahlia had captained the Adelaide Strikers to their maiden Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) title in November and has also captained her state team South Australia in a domestic one-day cricket tournament.
She will now become the eighth player to captain Australia women’s T20I side. “I’m new to leadership in this team and have been learning a lot on the fly and it probably worked in my favour that I didn’t have long to think about it, I was strangely calm out there, I had a lot of support.
(When Richa Ghosh was flying) I had to try and stay calm and keep the team calm.” “I’ve come off the back of captaining strikers for six weeks where it’s high pressure, the best players in the world are there and that’s what it felt like, I was captaining the strikers with a few extra players,” she said on her first brush in captaining Australia.
In absence of Alyssa, her opening partner Beth Mooney will be on keeping duties for Tuesday’s match, having done the same during the second innings of Saturday’s game. Beth has kept wickets for Perth Scorchers in WBBL and for Western Australia in domestic cricket.
It is yet to be known who will fill in for Alyssa at the top of the order. Other opening options include Tahlia herself, followed by Grace Harris, Phoebe Litchfield, and Ellyse Perry. All four players have previous experience of opening the innings in WBBL.
“We haven’t decided yet but I think the good news is we’ve got a lot of options, whether Pheebs (Litchfield) comes in, she’s done it in the Big Bash, myself, Pez (Perry) we’ve got so many options but we’ll have to wait and see,” stated Tahlia.
Australia will be itching to finish their tour of India on a winning note on Tuesday, after having an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series. Their next international assignment is a home ODI and T20I series against Pakistan starting mid-January, followed by defending their Women’s T20 World Cup title in South Africa from February 10-26.