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“I Still Don’t Believe In The Gap. I Still Don’t Believe It Exists” – Alyssa Healy

Australian captain Alyssa Healy refuted South African pacer Marizanne Kapp’s claims that her team’s dominance has diminished following their 27-year unbeaten streak against the Proteas. Captain Healy, who took over the captaincy after Meg Lanning’s retirement, despite losing both a T20 and an ODI to tourists, emphasized that while Australia is known for their victories, they are not unbeatable, particularly in T20 cricket.

Following the historic ODI win at North Sydney Oval, the South African star Kapp suggested that the Australians, current holders of both ODI and T20 World Cups, were different since Lanning’s retirement and the rest of the world was “catching up”.

“There’s definitely a change,” Kapp said. “Losing someone like Lanning, you’re never going to be able to replace her, not with captaincy and I don’t think her batting as well.”– she further added. “I remember too many games where we had Australia in trouble and she came out to bat and she saved them. I think everyone is catching up a bit around the world.”

But ahead of the third and final ODI at the same venue on Saturday, with the Aussies holding a 6-4 points lead in the multi-format series, Healy said it would be “disrespectful” to suggest they couldn’t lose to teams like South Africa and emphasized that world cricket is “closer than everyone suggests”.

“I still don’t believe in the gap. I still don’t believe it exists,” Alyssa Healy said. “Yes, we’ve got World Cup trophies in the cabinet and yes, we’ve won a lot of cricket but I still think teams are a lot closer than what everybody thinks they are.”

“I think the one-day format in particular is one that we’ve been very good at, and that’s one that we seem to have created some sort of gap in, but I think the T20 format has been a lot closer than what everyone suggests.” – she further added. “It doesn’t feel unusual (to lose to South Africa) and I feel like by me saying that, it would disrespect South Africa a little bit.”

Lanning’s departure came after long-serving vice-captain Rachael Haynes also departed the core Australian squad with batting phenom Phoebe Litchfield and former Irish bowler Kim Gath among recent additions.

Healy, an Australian player since 2010, reflects on the constant evolution and challenges faced by the team since her debut in 2010.

“There was a period of time where cricket was really challenging for this group,” Healy said. “We’ve had a lot of success over the last five or six years, yes, but there’s been plenty of times within that that this group has been challenged.”- she concluded. 

Belinda Clarke Award winner Ash Gardner looks set to take her place in the clash having escaped serious injury after suffering tightness in her hamstring on Wednesday night.

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