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Alyssa Healy doubtful for start of T20I series against South Africa due to illness

Australia could be without Alyssa Healy for the opening T20I against South Africa in Canberra on Saturday as she battles an illness

Healy was expected to train with the side on Friday afternoon before a final decision was made on Saturday morning, but vice-captain Tahlia McGrath said the team wouldn’t let performance standards drop if Healy couldn’t get up for the contest.

“We’re pretty lucky, we’re spoilt for choice in the fact we’re not reliant on any one player, and if anyone goes down we’ve got numerous options  to cover,” she said.

“Lots of players play different roles for their Big Bash franchise, and we’re a very team-first side, so whatever the team requires on the day, we feel as though we’ve got all options covered.”

Australia were expected to take in an almost unchanged team from the side that beat India 2-1 on the subcontinent this month, although they’ll have to finalise their pace line-up after Kim Garth and Darcie Brown alternated in that series.

Spin star Alana King has been left out of the T20I squad, although she will join the side for the ODI portion of the tour.

South Africa, beaten by 19 runs against Australia in the final of last year’s major tournament, didn’t enjoy a great start to their tour, suffering a four-wicket loss against the Governor-General’s XI on Wednesday.

Captain Laura Wolvaardt admitted the task of battling the world’s best side away from home was daunting, but suggested it was part of her  team’s journey to going one better at the 2024 T20 tournament in Bangladesh.

“It will be a big challenge, they are the world champions and it’s their own backyard,” she said. “They’ve just been very consistent for a long period of time.

“Getting to play in the [WBBL], I see how they work, and they work very hard at their skills. It’s well deserved, they do work very hard and they are very good cricketers…it’ll just be about us playing our best cricket on the day.”

The teams are competing across all three formats of the game over the next month, beginning with three T20s in what is a rematch of the decider from last year’s 20-over tournament.

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