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Healy considers giving up opening role in Test cricket

Australia could be forced to field a completely redesigned opening combination in next month’s women’s Ashes Test, with Alyssa Healy seriously considering abandoning the order to handle the workload.

Healy has played for Australia in the last three Tests since 2019, inheriting the role she regularly held in the game of white ball.

But the vice-captain is concerned about the impact keeping the wicket will have on her in Test cricket.

Healy also remembers being sent off for two appearances in her last friendly against England in Canberra, both times against the now-retired Katherine Brunt.

“I’ve thought about it a lot. And it’s been up for discussion for a while,” Healy told AAP.

“In the last test match, I put my hand up and wanted to do it. It was my decision to open the bat and I thought it would be a great place to bat.”

“I probably underestimated the work I would have to do on site because I didn’t have to do it all the time.

“I’ve really enjoyed it and when the time comes and they want me to open, okay great. “But I’d like to slide in the middle and hit a Dukes ball around.”

Healy is the only player in either the men’s or women’s game who is a regular wicketkeeper and opens the bat. The last was Kamran Akmal for Pakistan in 2007.

When asked if she now prefers to give up the order and bat at No.6 or No.7 as she had done in her Test cricket debut, Healy said she would.

“It was hard. I’m not trying to get a cop out, but mentally it was really hard to open up and keep,” Healy said.

“Knowing what the conditions in England could possibly be like, the Dukes ball keeps swinging around a little longer.

“The chances behind the stumps will be really important. So doing this job well will be my top priority.”

“And wherever I have to fit in with the racquet, that’s going to be great.”

Healy is aware the decision will be a long-term one, with Australia set to play three Tests over the next eight months and a new opening combination already on the horizon following the retirement of Rachael Haynes last year.

Beth Mooney is expected to take Haynes’ place at Trent Bridge on June 22 when the Test matches open the multi-format Ashes series, having previously topped the table.

Rising star Phoebe Litchfield would then be an option for her Test debut as the opener after making an impressive start to her international white ball career last summer.

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