Mitch didn’t want to be there playing cricket: Alyssa Healy

Australia women’s opener-wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy has revealed that her husband and Australia men’s pacer Mitchell Starc didn’t want to play cricket last summer. She said that Starc wanted to be alongside his father Paul and spend time with him before he died of cancer in February this year.

Earlier in the all-format series against India last year, Starc had pulled out of second and third T20Is to attend to a family illness.

“Mitch didn’t want to be there playing cricket. He wanted to be sitting next to his dad and spending the last three months that he could possibly have with his dad. Paul didn’t want that, he wanted Mitch to go out there, play for Australia and wear his baggy green with pride,” said Alyssa in a video released by 7Cricket on Monday.

She further said that Starc played last summer in Australia because his father wanted him to do so. “It was tough. Paul was such a big supporter of all his kids, but he loved the fact that Mitch played cricket for Australia. He was always his biggest supporter. The only reason that Mitch played the cricket he did last summer is because Paul wanted him to. He wouldn’t let him sit at home and feel sorry for his dad that he was going through something as horrible as what he did. He wanted him to go out there and play cricket.”

Starc was unimpressive in the 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India, picking only 11 wickets in the four-match series. Alyssa pointed out that people who criticised Starc’s performances didn’t know what was happening with him on personal front.

“To have to deal with what was going on behind the scenes and play Test cricket on the biggest arena is not easy. Mitch copped a lot of flak for bowling the way he did last summer but those people who were laying into him had no concept of what was going on behind the scenes.”

With Starc named in the men’s T20 World Cup squad followed by the Ashes later, Alyssa is excited to see her husband back on top of his game. “It was tough and I guess it makes me really excited this summer for Mitch. It’s obviously a huge summer for the boys, Mitch in particular. To get back to his best knowing the weight of all that, it’s not necessarily gone, but it’s taken a bit off his shoulders.”

“He can go out there, enjoy cricket and enjoy playing for Australia again. He deserves it. He gives up a lot for me, and I give up a lot for him. But I think he gives up way more for me. I’m eternally grateful and I just want to see him succeed,” concluded Alyssa.