Perry reveals vision for women's cricket after winning ICC player of the year

  • Player of the year hopes T20 World Cup will be played at MCG or SCG
  • Envisions Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) played as stand-alone event

Ellyse Perry revealed her vision for the future of Australian women’s cricket after she was named ICC women’s player of the year. The 27-year-old was a standout for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint award after her decisive effort in this year’s Ashes which included an unbeaten 213 in the Test at North Sydney Oval.

The Australian allrounder paid homage to the quantum leaps Australian women’s cricket, and sport in general, has made during the past several years – crediting more time on the pitch for her own improvement in form.

“I just want to get better, I think everyone does, so it’s been nice to see that pay off. Each time you have a chance to spend time out in the middle, you probably have a chance to improve and learn a bit more about your game.

“That’s the thing, in the last 24 months I’ve been able to get to know my game a little bit better and I’m really confident in it.”

With the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) and Southern Stars enjoying exponential growth in interest and exposure, Perry spelled out her wish for the T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia in February-March, to be played in the country’s biggest stadiums such as the MCG or SCG. 

This year’s Ashes series was played across a host of lesser grounds, such as Allan Border Field, Coffs Harbour Stadium, North Sydney Oval and Manuka Oval. She said Cricket Australia was already discussing taking the World T20 final to a bigger arena and she wanted to see it become a reality.

“Cricket Australia are really keen on the final being in one of the major stadiums in the country and filling that out,” Perry said.

“The WBBL is a really great vehicle for building that and growing the interest in T20 in Australia. I think that’s the ultimate goal – filling out big stadiums.”

Perry said she also wanted the WBBL to be a main attraction in its own right. Many of the WBBL games this year are being played as curtain-raisers to the men’s game, but Perry said matches could be played as stand-alone events able to draw its own crowds.

“I think there are some really clear ideas and Cricket Australia have some goals, aspirations for what they want to do with the tournament,” Perry said.

“In a couple of years time it will be its stand-alone event. We might play it a bit earlier in the year.

“Leading into Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in 2020, I’d really like to see the women’s games filling out decent-sized stadiums and making it really valuable property for Cricket Australia.”

A multi-talented athlete, Perry is capped for both the Southern Stars as well as the Australian women’s soccer team. Several years ago she was forced to give up her place in the Matildas as both cricket and football evolved towards being fully professional.

“I certainly miss soccer but I don’t feel upset that I’m not playing,” she said.

“What’s been occurring the last little bit has been marvellous.”

Asked if she sometimes felt an itch to pull on her soccer boots while watching the Matildas, Perry said: “I always think ‘geez, I’m so far off the pace now’.

“But I love watching them and I think they’re genuine title contenders for the World Cup in 2019.”

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