McInnes ready for Thunder's defining week
Lancashire Thunder take on Yorkshire Diamonds in the first Roses clash of KSL 2019 tomorrow
Removing Australian star Alyssa Healy is likely to be key to Lancashire’s hopes of breaking their early Kia Super League losing streak when Yorkshire visit Liverpool on Tuesday, and coach Mark McInnes may just have the answer on how to do it.
McInnes has worked closely with a wicketkeeper-bat who he describes as one of the form players in the world at present.
The Thunder’s head coach has long been part of the New South Wales Breakers coaching staff, for whom the 29-year-old Diamond plays her state cricket Down Under.
Healy knows too well that McInnes will have the inside track on her game, but executing any such plans will be no walk in the park during a clash which starts at 2.30pm.
“Alyssa’s a world-class player who has come off a great 12 months of cricket,” said McInnes.
“But, having spent a lot of time watching her in the nets, I have some ideas and plans we might use to bowl to her. I know her game very well and know her strengths.
“We’ll be looking to contain her and knock her over early.”
Prior to scoring 266 runs in the recent Ashes win, Healy was also named player of the tournament at the World T20 in the Caribbean late last year and then scooped the Belinda Clark Medal for Cricket Australia’s player of the year for 2018.
She started her T20 international career in 2010 batting at eight before edging up the order slightly.
Surprisingly, it was only at the start of the 2017 Australian summer that she began opening the batting regularly for her country, in both T20 and ODI cricket.
“She’s opened the batting for the New South Wales Breakers for a long time, but going from seven to one in international cricket has made a big difference to her game,” said McInnes.
“She’s in great form at the moment having come off an Ashes win, and she’ll be pretty confident. But we’ll try and knock her over.”
Of McInnes’ talents, Healy said: “I’ve worked with him over the last 12-18 months, and he’s a great coach - a great batting and spin bowling coach. But I’ll be looking forward to that battle.
“I’m sure they’ll have set plans for me, but it’s always really good beating your mates.
“Mark’s been around the women’s game for a while now. He was really good for Alex Blackwell towards the back end of her career. There was a noticeable change with her intent with the bat and the areas she could hit.”
Lancashire have lost their opening three KSL matches against Southern Vipers at Liverpool, Surrey at Guildford and the latest against Western Storm at Taunton on Saturday, a game which they had the better of for large parts before failing to defend a 142 target.
But there would be no better way to kick start their campaign than by beating Yorkshire for the third straight time having completed the double against the Diamonds last year.
“I’m aware of the rivalry, but I don’t know a great deal about it historically,” said McInnes, in his first year of KSL coaching.
“But even during the trial game we had against them before the competition in York, I got the message. The girls will be up for it no doubt.”
Yorkshire have lost their first two matches, home games against last year’s finalists Surrey and Loughborough, in which Healy has scored 31 and nine.