Australia cricket 2021: All the latest news as women take on India, Alyssa Healy column

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EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: Australia and India share a special ‘unspoken rivalry’ – but there was a one day in particular when Alyssa Healy knew she’s got the better of her opponents.

The last time we played India they gave me a good old-fashioned send-off… and I loved it.

Part of my role is to play the antagonist and slip under the opposition’s skin.

If you dish it out you have to take it. When I got out (for 75) in the T20 World Cup final at the MCG last year I copped a decent sledging from a few members of the Indian team as I walked off.

The crowd of 86,000 was so loud I could not even hear what they were saying but I didn’t have to be a lip-reader to get the vibe.

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I had never seen an Indian team so worked up. It made me smile when I left the field and I couldn’t wait to tell my teammates “my job’s done … they are really fired up.’’

That exchange was all part of the game and an unspoken rivalry between two teams which has been fanned by isolated moments such as that one and huge performances like the day Harmanpreet Kaur blew us off the park with 171 in England in 2017 before our win at the MCG last year.

And so we meet again over the next month with seven matches across three formats in Mackay and at the Gold Coast where fresh chapters of our rivalry will be written. I cannot wait.

COVID CRISIS

There is no doubt COVID has presented so many challenges for society and sport. It is an interesting balance we have in Australia right now.

Hopefully, as we come through the pandemic and more people get vaccinated, we can return to some level of normal.

I was watching the BMW championship over the weekend and they had 100,000 people over four days through the golf course in London.

I also have a friend who lives in Germany who has been to five different countries in five weeks.

Sport is so important in times like these and I am sure many would agree. When people are

struggling, they look to sport as a release and something to look forward to.

There have been many challenges facing all sports, particularly those like ours who need to move around the country to ply our trade.

Don’t get me wrong. We are very grateful for the opportunity to play and represent our country, all Australians and the young girls and women playing our great game.

We know the virus moves and changes the landscape very quickly. But I can only hope we are edging closer to getting back to our lives as they were before the pandemic.

My view is we should be in this thing together, as simplistic as that seems.

THE TOUGHEST CALL

Cricket Australia’s stance on the Taliban’s opposition to women’s cricket was a strong call and a very touching one.

It meant a lot to see Australia sticking up for the women’s game.

None of us want to cause any damage to Afghanistan cricket – and in particular the women’s game – which is why the decision regarding the Hobart Test match is so delicate on many levels.

The political and religious debates about Afghanistan stretch well above my head and I will leave them to the experts. That said we have great empathy for the players in what is a very complex situation.

Australia’s commitment to cricket being a sport for all has shone through.

Originally published as Australia cricket 2021: All the latest news as women take on India

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