Women’s Sport: Mitchell Starc to leave tour of South Africa early to support wife Alyssa Healy in T20 World Cup final

Sunday is this year’s biggest day on the Women’s Cricket calendar and Mitchell Starc is one of many who wouldn’t miss it for the world. 

Starc is married to veteran Australian wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy, who has played over 100 international T20’s for her country, and won the 2019 ICC Women’s T20 cricketer of the year award.

This Sunday’s final against India, a repeat of the first game of the tournament, will not be Healy’s first world-cup final, but the chance to play at a home world cup, in front of an anticipated 90,000 strong crowd, is no doubt the chance of a lifetime.

Starc therefore, is understandably keen to cheer on his other half and has been granted permission to leave Australia Men’s tour of South Africa. He will miss the team’s third and final ODI, with South Africa having already claimed the series after winning the first two matches.

Australia Men’s coach Justin Langer said “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Mitch to watch Alyssa in a home World Cup final. It is something we have been talking about for a while and, given Mitch has had a considerable workload in all three formats this summer, he’s heading home a couple of days ahead of the rest of the squad.”

Australia’s path to the final was always predicted, but it has nonetheless proved more troublesome than many experts predicted. Despite beating India in the final of the recent Tri-Nations series, Australia lost the first game of the tournament to an almost identical team. Whilst they fought back to win their next four matches, they will be without star player Ellyse Perry, who was also ruled out of the semi-final.

India however, were not forced to play a semi-final, as their match against England fell victim to the weather, as the ICC failed to arrange a reserve day. They are unbeaten in the tournament thus far though and will hope that the likes of Shafali Verma and Poonam Yadav can continue their exceptional form this tournament.

Likewise, Starc will be hoping for more heroics from wife Alyssa. She boasts the highest score in T20 history, scoring 148 not-out against Sri-Lanka in October of last year. Healy has also made two fifties thus far in this competition, averaging 32.20 at a strike rate of 143.75- bettered only by Shafali Verma. If Healy can repeat the heroics we’ve seen from her in the past, then Australia’s past success in this tournament, may just repeat itself once again.

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