Cricket / First Test: Australia's true blue terrier bares his teeth

Click to follow
THERE is nothing in the present side more typically Australian than the darting, terrier-like qualities of Ian Healy. With the gloves on or bat in hand no one, not even Allan Border, better typifies the little Aussie battler.

Healy had a strange start to his career for he was first chosen for Queensland when Peter Anderson broke a hand standing up to Ian Botham.

He had played only six first-class matches when he was chosen to go on the short tour to Pakistan in 1988-89 ahead of Tim Zoehrer, his deputy on this tour, who had then fallen out of favour. Healy came into the side for the first Test match in Karachi.

He may never have been everyone's choice as the best keeper in Australia, but, most significantly, he had great admirers in Queensland's and Australia's past and present captains - Greg Chappell, who was a selector, and Border.

Healy has held his place since first claiming the famous baggy green cap in Karachi, and has done his captain and country proud. Though no great stylist, he has hung on to almost everything behind the stumps, and his jack-in-the-box manner has been an inspiration to his bowlers and fielders whenever the going has been tough.

This last characteristic may occasionally have made him seem a great irritant, and I daresay he has had his say in most of the verbal conflicts which have happened around him. He has never fought Australia's cause with less than 100 per cent of himself.

While he constantly yaps at the batsman's heels with his wicketkeeping gloves on, he has always needed blasting out as a batsman, giving numerous dismal Australian batting displays new life by his obstinate, adhesive and highly effective method. This was a most deserved 100.