Ellyse Perry’s future workload as a bowler has been discussed within the Australia set-up but head coach Matthew Mott said she is determined to return from her hamstring injury as a “genuine allrounder” although that may not happen in the WBBL.
Perry suffered a setback in her recovery from the injury that curtailed her T20 World Cup campaign when she tweaked the same hamstring during training ahead of the T20I series against New Zealand.
Perry and the Australia camp has since conceded that these matches would probably have been too soon for a comeback even without any hitches, but now it remains uncertain what role she’ll be able to play for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL which begins in a Sydney hub on October 25.
Longer-term, however, Mott “desperately” hopes Perry, who has an ODI batting average of 52.10 and would be a first pick as a top-order batter alone, can return as a frontline bowler and said that her absence was a reminder how it often requires two players to replace her in an XI.
ALSO READ: Sophie Devine: ‘It must be something in the Kerr family, nerves of steel’
“It’s something we talk about a lot,” Mott said. “As allrounders get into the backend of their careers the bowling can drop off, but I can assure you Ellyse is determined to come back as a genuine allrounder, she’s worked incredibly hard in that break. Realistically she was always going to struggle to be available for this series given how dramatic the injury was.
“In the short-term, we are talking about that [bowling] role in the Big Bash…but definitely in the long term we she wants to bowl fast. It’ll take time, we always knew it would. Ellyse can hold her spot as a batter or bowler and for me that’s the definition of a genuine allrounder and they don’t come along too often. Desperately hope we can get her back as a genuine allrounder. When you take Ellyse Perry out of our team you realise just how great she is because you have to replace her with two players usually.”
Shortly after captain Meg Lanning confirmed Perry was out of the New Zealand series a few days ago a video posted by Cricket Australia showed her going through her paces in the nets, seemingly not holding much back despite the recent twinge of her hamstring.
Perry has been known to push her body to the limited before. Last season in the WBBL she continued to field against the Melbourne Renegades after landing awkwardly and damaging her shoulder and in 2013 World Cup final against West Indies took 3 for 19 off 10 overs while barely able to walk due to an ankle injury. The biggest challenge for the management and medical staff could be Perry’s own drive and expectations.
“We’ll be smart with all that,” Mott said about the risk of longer-term injury. “Her management plan will be very detailed. We’ve already spoken a lot about what it looks like.”
In the immediate future there is set to be a chance for one of Australia’s squad players to come into the side for the first ODI on Saturday with Delissa Kimmince having picked up right hamstring soreness during the final T20I. The other seam-bowling options in the squad include Belinda Vakarewa, who has previously played one ODI and impressed in the warm-up match, along with allrounders Annabel Sutherland (capped in T20Is but not ODIs) and Tahlia McGrath plus the uncapped Maitlan Brown.
A new pitch will be used for the one-day series and the same surface then played on for all three games which adds up to potentially 300 overs on the one strip, meaning spin is again likely to play a key role as the series develops.
“It does serve up different challenges, but they are really good challenges for us to overcome,” Mott said. “If there’s on area of our game that’s held us back it’s been on some slow wickets so it’s another opportunity to prove our adaptability and find a way to get success.
“At least the first two games it will be a genuinely good batting wicket like it always is at AB Field…but you can’t have it as good on the last day as it is on the first. Both teams are aware of that. The toss could play a part [later in the series], it could be an advantage to get a score. Our batters need to cash in when they can.”
Australia’s defeat in the last T20I was their first loss to New Zealand in 13 matches; their hold on the Rose Bowl one-day series goes back an extraordinary 20 years. A 3-0 whitewash would equal the record of 21 consecutive ODI wins held by the Australia men’s team from 2003, under captain Ricky Ponting.
“The last match I thought the Kiwis come out and played extremely well,” Mott said. “We had the rub of the green, we got to bat first on a tricky wicket that was wearing and was a very strong spin attack. It was a very big victory for them, and the first one in a while that they’ve beaten us. Hopefully that spurs us on for the one-day series. We’ve had a good run against them but never ever thought anything but them being a very good cricket team.”