Australia will be in the defending champions, and likely favourites, in Bangladesh next September and October, but over the last six months, a host of results have suggested the gap is closing between the leading nations and the emerging teams.
Sri Lanka have beaten England, Pakistan have beaten South Africa and New Zealand, Bangladesh have drawn with South Africa and taken a game off India, and Australia were pushed very hard by West Indies at the start of this season, with Hayley Matthews conjuring a famous victory at North Sydney Oval.
“[It’s] hugely exciting. World Cups aren’t easy to win. It may look like it is for us, but they’re not,” Healy said. “If you dive in deeply to those World Cups we struggled throughout the tournament, but we’ve managed to win high-pressure situations and get ourselves over the line.
“I’ve got no doubt next year in Bangladesh – in really, really foreign conditions to a lot of people – it’s going to be a real tough ask for our group. And that’s what is so exciting about the next 12 months. We go to India on Wednesday and get to prepare in subcontinental conditions. We go to Bangladesh for a bilateral series next year for the first time. For me, it feels like a great challenge and an opportunity to find out more about myself and our group of players, which I think is hugely exciting.”
Healy is also confident she can balance the workloads of being captain, opening batter (in white-ball cricket) and wicketkeeper. After the Ashes in England earlier this year, she admitted it was more of a demand than she had envisaged but believes she has learnt from that experience.
“I’ve had a taste of it over the last 12 months and I think I can do it,” she said. “I’ve had three pre-seasons this year, so I’m looking forward to being as fit as I ever had. It’s all about just managing that workload and making sure that I’m switching off away from the game enough. I think I’ve got a really great balance in my life that I feel like I’m capable of doing that.”
“I think there’s a great group of leaders within our group that probably haven’t had the opportunities to lead a lot, especially in the domestic game, but also at the international level as well,” Healy said. “And I think that’s going to be a real key to how we drive things within our group. It’s about finding the next leaders in Australian cricket.
“There are obviously some outstanding ones that are quite senior in our group that are doing it quite consistently in domestic cricket and the WBBL. So it’s about finding that next rung of leaders and giving them the freedom to want to lead within our side as well and encourage them to do so. And I think that’s part of my role.”