Healy considers ditching Test match opening role
The wicketkeeper has admitted the workload proved a challenge last year
Australia could be forced to blood an entirely new-look opening combination in next month's women's Ashes Test with Alyssa Healy seriously considering dropping down the order to manage workloads.
Healy has opened for Australia in the last three Tests dating back to 2019, taking on the role she has regularly occupied in the white-ball game. But the vice-captain is wary of the impact keeping wicket will have on her in Test cricket.
Also on Healy's mind is she was dismissed for a pair in her last Test against England in Canberra, on both occasions to the now-retired Katherine Brunt.
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"I have given it a lot of thought. And it has been up for discussion for a little bit of time," Healy told AAP. "In the last Test match, look I put my hand up and I wanted to do it. It was my decision to open the batting and I thought it would be a great place to bat.
"I probably underestimated the work I would have to do in the field, not having to do that all the time. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if the time comes and they want me to open, okay great. But I'd happily slide down to the middle and whack a Dukes ball around."
Healy is the only player in the men's or women's game to wicketkeep and open the batting across formats. Asked if her preference was to now drop down the order and bat at No. 6 or No. 7 like she did when she debuted in Test cricket, Healy said that was the case.
"It was tough. I'm not trying to have a cop out, but it was really tough mentally to open and keep," Healy said. "Knowing what the conditions could potentially be like in England, the Dukes ball swings around a little bit longer.
"The chances behind the stumps are going to be really important. So doing that job well will be my priority. And wherever I have to slot in with the bat, that will be great."
Healy is aware the decision will be a long-term one, with Australia to play three Tests in the next eight months and a new opening combination already looming following Rachael Haynes' retirement last year.
Beth Mooney is favoured to step up and take Haynes' spot at Trent Bridge on June 22 when the Test matches open the multi-format Ashes series having filled in at the top previously.
Rising star Phoebe Litchfield would then be an option to make her Test debut opening after an impressive start to her international white-ball career last summer.