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WPL: England's John Lewis learns from Australia's Alyssa Healy ahead of the Ashes

WPL: England's John Lewis learns from Australia's Alyssa Healy ahead of the Ashes

  • Written by Stefan Schimmelt
  • Bengaluru's chief cricket writer

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England soccer player Sophie Ecclestone (left) and Australia captain Alyssa Healy are UP Warriorz teammates

England coach John Lewis says he is learning from Australia captain Alyssa Healy in the Women's Super League, less than a year after her Ashes departure.

Lewis and Hailey are the coach and captain respectively of the UP Warriorz.

The women's Ashes tournament will be held in Australia in early 2025, with the men's version starting later that year.

“We are saving a lot in terms of England and Australia,” Lewis told BBC Sport. “I will learn a lot from the work I do here with Alyssa.”

Lewis and Healy worked together in the inaugural WPL season last year, ahead of the women's Ashes tournament in the English summer.

Wicketkeeper Healy captained Australia in that series after former captain Meg Lanning withdrew from the Australian side. The series was tied 8-8 as England competed strongly with the best team in the world.

Lanning has since retired from international cricket, and Healy became captain on a permanent basis. Talia McGrath, Australia's vice-captain, is also with Lewis at the Warriors.

“I learned a lot last year and I think that really helped us in the Ashes last summer,” said Lewis, the former England seamer. “I'm really lucky to have Australia's captain and vice-captain in this group.

“It's good to get an insight from them. And of course, they gain insight into how I do things.

“I'll be coaching a little differently at this franchise than I would have with England. As a coach, you have to flex your style to suit the group of people you're working with. My feeling is that I'm learning more about them than they are. Learning about me.”

Last year's UK Women's Ashes attracted a record total attendance of 110,000 across the Test match, three T20 matches and three one-day internationals.

Next year, the women's Ashes will be held at a separate time from the men's for the first time since England won the women's version in 2008.

“I hope the Australian cricket team can put on a good show like we did in England and attract people to the stadiums,” the 48-year-old Lewis said.

“Hopefully we'll get a really good crowd and the Aussies will come out and support their team. Hopefully we'll get a few England fans, maybe a few Barmy Army fans supporting the women as much as they do the men.”

Lewis will leave the Warriors early in order to link up with England on their tour of New Zealand.

This series has been arranged for some time, but the WPL's late scheduling created a conflict. The final in India on March 17 is just two days before the first T20 between New Zealand and England in Dunedin.

Although Lewis is set to join England from March 12, four players – Nat Shaver-Brunt, Alice Capsey, Sophie Ecclestone and Daniel White – have elected to remain in the WPL and miss the first three T20 matches in the five-match series. Two other English players in the WPL, Essie Wong and Kate Cross, are not currently in England's T20 plans.

“For the players who are already contracted here, we let them decide what they want to do and how they want to do it,” Lewis said. “We were really open to the players who missed the start of the New Zealand series.

“What we weren't prepared to do was bring in dedicated players, so that the players we were giving chances to in the first part of the New Zealand series were always looking over their shoulders and thinking 'If they get eliminated from the WPL, is my position at risk?'

“This team has been consistent through the first three games. I'm really strong on growing our team's depth, so this is a perfect opportunity to do that.”

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