Also said the Australia women have received some advice from their male counterparts on how to adjust to cricket after a period of quarantine in NZ
It has been more than a year since Ellyse Perry limped out of the T20 World Cup after severely injuring her hamstring. She has admitted it has taken her all that time to return to a level close to what she was pre-injury. And there’s more work to be done too.
She has also used the opportunity – and the imbalance between training and playing created by the Covid-19 – to make adjustments to her run-up, which have taken time to feel natural. Her Australia comeback will be against the same side she was facing when the dreams of a home World Cup final were shattered.
Perry sat out Australia’s one international assignment since the World Cup – the visit by New Zealand last September – before returning to action in the WBBL with Sydney Sixers which followed shortly after.
The runs came at a good volume – 390 at 48.75 – but a strike-rate of below 100 (96.53) was enough to create some debate about her batting. Meanwhile, with the ball, it was a struggle as she claimed eight wickets with an economy rate of 8.35 and that was followed by a WNCL campaign for Victoria where she took just two wickets in six matches.
“Throughout my rehab process I saw that as a great opportunity to work on a few different things and one of those was improving the efficiency or effectiveness of my run-up to give me a little more balance and power at the crease,” Perry explained. “That was a work in progress and bringing it into the first round of actual competition at the start of the WNCL, I didn’t expect it to go smoothly. Those first couple of games against New South Wales probably weren’t perfect but since then it’s been really great because I’ve been able to iron that out. It feels fine now.”
“That’s always the challenge and the best part of being involved in sport is the constant need to improve and evolve as a player,” she added. “It’s no different for any player. At different points in your career, there are different challenges and ways to go about things, but from a bit of a broader picture, it’s probably taken me the best part of 12 months to feel like I’m back to full playing fitness and performance levels.
“By no means do I think I was close where I was before I got injured during the WBBL, and it’s probably still a bit of a work in progress, but it’s been a really nice opportunity to work on various aspects of my game.”
A trade-off for this tour currently taking place is that the Australia players have missed the final stages of the WNCL with the final between Victoria and Queensland taking place in Melbourne on Saturday. Victoria, who are without six names plus the injured Annabel Sutherland, made a request to Cricket Australia about delaying the final to allow the Australia players to be available, but the original schedule has been retained.
“In the current climate you’ve got to make the most of opportunities to play cricket,” Perry said. “The fact there’s a final going ahead is the most important thing because you just don’t what will happen at the moment. It was worth a shot asking the question. Domestic cricket means a lot to all of us.
“It’s a shame, it would have been really nice to play the whole season but it’s also very hard to complain when there’s an opportunity to play international cricket as well.”
Australia will complete their managed isolation in Christchurch on Saturday ahead of the first T20I in Hamilton on Sunday evening. They will be aiming to use advice passed on from the men’s side who found themselves off the pace at the start of their series against New Zealand last month.
“Some of the mail we got from the men’s team was that when they came over here adjusting to the pace of a match again after being in quarantine for two weeks and just training was probably the biggest shock for them,” Perry said. “So there’s something to be aware of, just making sure we step up from training to competition again and we are not on our heels from the get-go.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo