Healy Seeks Out New Designs For Women’s Cricket

A world-record gathering of 86,174 jammed their way into the Melbourne Cricket Club on March 8th – International Women’s Day – for the championship match of the Women’s T20 World Cup. Millions more watched the drama unfold on television.

 

Australian cricket star Alyssa Healy used her downtime caused by COVID-19 to help design cricket gear specifically manufactured for women. Photo by: YellowMonkey (Wikimedia).
Australian cricket star Alyssa Healy used her downtime caused by COVID-19 to help design cricket gear specifically manufactured for women. Photo by: YellowMonkey (Wikimedia).

 

On the oval below, Australia, the -175 odds-on favorites at the Las Vegas betting sites, would successfully defend their crown.

Thanks in no small part to Alyssa Healy’s 75 off 39 balls, the Aussies defeated India by 85 runs, avenging a loss to India in the opening match of the tournament.

For Healy, 30, the world appeared to be her oyster. The planets were aligning. All was good.

And then it wasn’t.

The COVID-19 pandemic arrived about a week after Australia’s epic triumph. Suddenly, Healy found herself in the same lockdown predicament facing much of the rest of the world. What they lived to do no longer could be done, and no one knew for how long this would be a fact of life.
Faced with unusual adversity, Healy did what elite athletes so often do during periods of crisis. She found a way to contribute, to turn a negative into a positive.

The world’s second-ranked ODI batter, Healy worked in consultation with Japanese sports apparel manufacturer Asics to help in the development of a women’s cricket shoe.

If The Shoe Fits

Women have played the sport of cricket in Australia for more than a century. The Women’s Big Bash League is in its sixth season of operation.
Despite all this advancement in the game on the distaff side, cricket equipment has mostly remained a male-dominated field. In the past, even world-class players such as Healy and her Australian teammates were left to force their feet into cricket shoes designed for men and for boys.

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“We obviously don’t have the same shape of the foot as the boys do,” Healy told The Guardian. “So to be able to have one that fits snugly to the female foot and protects our feet while we’re playing is really important.”

Asics isn’t the only manufacturer changing up its gear to help create a more welcoming feel for women’s players as they seek to suit up for an upcoming match.

“Kookaburra recently changed their sizing from men and boys to just juniors and adults and made it easy for everybody to go in and find something that they need,” Healy said.

All-Inclusive

 

Healy hopes that female-only equipment will keep more girls in cricket as they grow up.

As girls playing cricket grew into young women, there was an unspoken sense that their time in the game was running out.

Finding equipment that fit them comfortably was a virtual mission impossible. It created an impression that the powers-that-be who ruled over cricket weren’t all that interested in growing the game on the female side of the ledger.

Something as simple as their own line of shoes sends a message to developing female players that not only does the sport believe there’s a place for women in cricket but that they are being embraced and encouraged to participate and make the game a lifelong pursuit.

In Healy’s case, she persevered against these sorts of roadblocks to reach the pinnacle of women’s cricket.

“Having stuff like this growing up would have reinforced that I can play the game and there’s equipment out there available for me, in my size and in my shape,” Healy said. “Growing up, you sort of just had to deal with wearing a junior boys’ cut or whatever you were given but now [there are] other options for the young girls out there.”

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Just as Healy used her bat to drive Australia to the world title, she’s seeking to utilize her presence as a star in women’s cricket to forge an easier path for young girls who also want to pursue the game.

For those who seek to follow in Healy’s footsteps, thanks to her efforts, they’ll be able to do so in comfortable footwear.

“And it will just encourage more girls to take up the game, but also to stay in the game when they feel like there’s stuff out there that is made just for them,” Healy said.

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