This winter, Ellyse Perry will get the chance to train quietly and privately with her dad, Mark, for the first time in three years.
Perry, 31, believes the return of these sorts of elemental moments will be a major motivator for her and other members of Australia’s all-conquering women’s side to stay together over the next year or more.
The staggering success of the team captained by Meg Lanning over the past two years has been achieved through a series of tight bubbles and quarantine periods that concluded with the World Cup in New Zealand. Further COVID-19 bubbles and quarantines may have shortened a few careers.
But after two years of phone chats, Perry told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that the thought of reconnecting with family in-season made the next 12 months look very different to the previous 24. The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, a first appearance in the Hundred competition, and a Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa all loom.
“It’s a cool chance because I’ll get to see my dad a bit and have a few bats with him in the off-season, which I haven’t done in a number of years because of COVID,” she said. “That’s time that I just cherish with him – he’s still the last person I talk to before a game.
“Seeing my folks and my family in between playing and being at home in my own bed a lot more of the time and catching up with people outside the sporting environment will be really cool, to couple that with playing a regular season again. People have really missed that.”
Ellyse Perry celebrates victory in the World Cup final in Christchurch.Credit:Getty Images
After managing to return from back spasms to be passed fit for the Cup final against England in Christchurch, Perry admitted to mixed feelings as her return meant Annabel Sutherland had to miss out. The pair have grown close over the past two years, spent time together with Victoria and Australia, and shared a cafe breakfast on game day to discuss the situation.
“Annabel’s reaction was unbelievable, and it’s just a testament to the kind of person she is and the kind of player she’s going to be for many, many years in the team,” Perry said. “We went out for breakfast on the morning of the game and sat together and chatted about it. At no point was there any kind of disappointment from Bel, she was just really excited for the game.
“You forget how young she is because of the level of maturity she displays, both her emotional intelligence, but also her own perspective on her game and what she’d like to achieve. To see the way she’s worked on her game and where it’s got her has been brilliant. But what’s even scarier, as a prospect, is how good she’s going to be in five or six years’ time.”
Looking to the future, Perry said enjoyment of the game and the environment in which she could play it would largely dictate how long she continued.
Annabel Sutherland, Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry pose with the World Cup trophy after arriving home in Melbourne.Credit:Getty Images
“Yeah that, whether people want me around, whether I’m capable,” she said. “The prospect of hopefully having a bit more of a regular season coming up in terms of spending time at home and not being in bubbles and seeing people as well. Just living a more separated day-to-day life than just being in the sporting bubble the whole time.”
Australia’s maturity as a team was proven by how they approached the cup. Perry noted with some pride how openers Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes had demonstrated the team’s evolution by using soft hands to defuse the new ball, then piling on the runs as the innings developed.
“I think we used to have this expectation we had to get off to flying starts in white-ball cricket and just power our way through anyone and anything,” Perry said. “Whereas now there’s this understanding that you’ve got more time and, yes, the pressure’s on at the moment and it feels uncomfortable, but that will shift if you just stick with it.
“That’s the same with our bowlers – there are some really destructive batters in the world and they’re going to get you sometimes, but if you can just maintain a bit of a sense of calm and absorb that pressure, there’s always an opportunity to wrestle that back. Obviously that takes a lot of skill and ability, which we’ve all developed, but just matching that with the calmness to play the situation.
“It’s not having this predetermined notion of what and how you need to play, but also understanding what’s in front of you. That’s what comes with playing a lot more cricket – the number of games we play a season has gone up exponentially, and you can’t replace that with any amount of training.”
Perry also spoke with empathy about Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck, the trio who would almost certainly have played in the final were it not for injuries that forced them out of the reckoning for the tournament.
“They were amazing, they touched base with all of us and were supporting us all the way through the tournament,” Perry said. “That’s a huge credit to them as people because I can’t imagine how unbelievably hard it would’ve been for all of them to be sitting at home watching and knowing they would’ve had a chance to be a part of it all if they hadn’t been injured.
“They’re just three wonderful girls who have contributed over the past five years, as other girls have. That’s been a really important part of how we’ve got to where we did on Sunday. It’s easy to be the group who’s over there, but there’s a broader group [involved].”
Sophie Molineux, who missed much of the summer with a foot stress fracture, lost her place in the CA contract list named on Thursday. Alana King, the leg spinner who played a key role during the Cup, gained a promotion.
Cricket Australia women’s contract list for 2022-23: Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.
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