When Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry take to the field together, they’ll always be Pudd and Dags.
Whether playing for Australia, the NSW Breakers or Sydney Sixers, they’ll never forget where it all started — playing school cricket together as nine-year-old kids.
“We first played cricket together in primary school, in the Primary School Sport Association,” Healy said.
“I’ll always remember how baggy Pez’s uniform was — she was so little back then, but it was so baggy that we nicknamed her Dags.”
“And Pez calls me Pudd, as does Mum, because I used to be a short, fat little thing.”
Pudd and Dags may be all grown up, but that combination that goes way back is now a deadly mix that dominates international women’s cricket.
Last Sunday, Healy and Perry smashed the record for the highest partnership in WBBL history (0-199) in the Sixers’ 45-run victory over the Melbourne Stars at the WACA.
Healy tonked a 52-ball century and now has a formidable WBBL strike rate this season of 159.20.
Perry is not far behind with an impressive 139.50 strike rate of her own.
It was only last month when Healy set the world record for the highest score in a women’s T20 fixture, hitting an unbeaten 148 off just 61 deliveries against Sri Lanka at North Sydney Oval.
The Australian keeper-batter said she’s just happy her form is peaking for the ICC Women’s World Cup that kicks off in February next year.
“In this WBBL, I haven’t been making great decisions with my batting, that was something I identified last week to tidy up,” Healy said.
“So it was pleasing to finally put it all together on Sunday, and to have a good partnership with Pez.”
The WBBL is proving to be the perfect World Cup pre-season for Healy, who says the Australian selectors will struggle to choose a squad of 15.
“There’s almost 20 players that they’ll need to squeeze into the final squad, but I don’t think we’ll see great change,” Healy said.
“I think there’ll be the same core group, but we could see a few up-and-coming young players like Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham.”
While Healy’s delighted the Matildas could soon earn the same pay as the Socceroos, closing the gender pay gap in Australian cricket isn’t her top priority right now.
“It’s really exciting for them (the Matildas). It’s a fight they’ve been pushing for a long period of time,” Healy said.
“Times have changed quite dramatically over the years. We’re starting to have conversations about equal pay and what’s fair and right in our sporting teams.”
Healy understands better than most the current pay disparity between male and female cricketers through her marriage to Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc. She said she doesn’t need an immediate pay rise, but admitted that if the interest and participation in women’s cricket continues to skyrocket, extra money could be on the cards.
“Honestly, at the moment, our female players are paid pretty well considering the amount of time we spend on our jobs. I think we’re paid quite handsomely,” Healy said.
“I do think we’re heading in the right direction. We’re looking after female players more than ever, recently with the parental policy now in place. I do think the pay gap will get closer.”
Before that, however, Healy wants to see Australia’s female domestic cricketers earning bigger pay cheques.
“If that domestic level is fully professional, players would play longer and you wouldn’t lose that group of players that get to 30 years old and retire because they’ve got lives to live,” she said.
“That’d be the next level for cricket — to make sure that next crop coming through isn’t just 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds.”
The Daily Telegraph