Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Alyssa Healy: smashing 'keeper smashes batting world record

Alyssa Healy after her record-breaking unbeaten 148 in Sydney yesterday: foto courtesy of ESPN CRICINFO

Alyssa's century came off only 46 balls, the fastest ever!

AS SOME of you will know ... I did not play much sport as a youngster, only a little soccer and kitted myself out in all black a-la-Lev Yashin, the superstar Russian keeper of the 1960s. I learnt to love sports when I became an instant sports reporter. That has been true of most sports I covered but especially of cricket. In my life, I have only ever played social cricket. I learnt the game from players and coaches.

However, from those earliest of days in Kenya, reporting on cricket, I came to love the game with a passion only reserved for true bloods or former players. For nearly six decades, I have watched most of the greats (especially since the arrival of cricket on television) when an opportunity presented itself in the UK, Australia and a little bit in East Africa.  The world of international cricket has kept me smiling with happiness at the exquisite skills the world's best have been able to put on show. My life has been nurtured further everyone time a new generation superstar has strutted the batting wicket or hurled a ferocious ball splintering the stumps or magically spun an imaginably invisible ball that has just as magically ripped off the stumps, leaving the batsman shaking his in disbelief. The game of cricket is blessed with an abundance of miracles. It is the nature of the game that humans have soared to the cricket stars, leaving in their wake mere mortals open-mouthed, delighted, shocked, stunned, gleeful, or simply broken-hearted. 

That is the men's game. However, these days, I am an unabashed fan of the women's game, especially the Australian women's which has continued to get better and better with each year of cricket. They have created their own superstars: all-rounder Ellyse Perry for me is the epitome She is the great quality diamond the game has. Everything about her is special, she requires no marketing, she is a natural. Then there is Meg Lanning who is all grace and fury when it comes to batting and until yesterday held the world record for batting at 133 and watch with admiration as her batting partner set the new mark of 148 not out against the somewhat hapless Sir Lankans who nonetheless still managed to hold their heads high and their dignity intact as they ran to show their admiration of the batting lesson and congratulated Alyssa as she walked off the field.
In cricketing terms, like Perry and Lanning, Healey is something special. As a wicketkeeper, she is just as dramatic and inventive as she is a batter. Blessed with a fine cricketing brain, she is a thinking cricketer and, being a little biased, I love to listen to. Oh, she is plenty tongue-in-cheek but never derisive or dismissive but entertaining. Always. She is a natural fun person.  Pushing for a 3-nil whitewash of Sri Lankans, she hit 148 off 69 balls including 19 fours and 7 sixes to all parts of the ground. Brilliant.
I must confess each summer (north or south) brings a new kind of heaven and I am often driven to abandon the men's game for the female version. However, when it comes to T20 cricket, gotta watch both. Thank God for recording facilities on television. Have to remind my self to hit the treadmill every hour or so of cricket. Happy to do that when the cricket is the mighty chalice of the exquisite game.

Every one of the current Australian women's cricket squad is special and they do the country and game great honour. 

Cricket rankings
One Day International batting
1. Smriti Mandhana (a delightful, stylish, India)
2. Ellyse Perry (Aus)
3.Amy Satherwaite (NZ)
4. Elyssa Healy (Aus)

T20 batting
1. Suzie Bates NZ
2. Meg Lanning (Aus)
3. StefanieTaylor (WI)
4. Smriti Mandhana (Ind)

ODI bowling
1. Jess Jonassen (Aus)
2. Jhulan Goswami (India's greatest, veteran, icon)
3. Ellyse Perry (Aus)
4. Sana Mir (Pak)

All-rounder batting

1. Ellyse Perry
2. Deepti Sharma (India)
3. Stefanie Taylor (WI)
4. Dabe van Niekerk (SA)

All-rounder bowling

1. Ellyse Perry
2. Sophie Devine (NZ)
3. Stefanie Taylor (WI)
4. Deandra Dottin (WI)

Currently, Australia comfortably heads the rankings in both forms of the game. 

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  This invaluable collection of photos was sent to me by David Mungai. He says it is “for the acknowledgement of Kenyan History, the celebra...