Sport Cricket ‘She is the idol for so many in the world’: The Ellyse Perry story

‘She is the idol for so many in the world’: The Ellyse Perry story

Ellyse Perry century
Ellyse Perry averages above 50 with the bat in both Test and one-day cricket. Photo: Getty
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Broadcaster Mel Jones was there, along with 3931 other fans, to witness a truly significant moment in the history of women’s cricket.

Ellyse Perry provided the joy, the 27-year-old all-rounder hitting a sublime 213 not out against England in an Ashes Test at North Sydney.

“People say ‘I was there when Steve Waugh hit that last ball for four’ [to bring up an Ashes hundred at the SCG],” ex-Australia player Jones told The New Daily.

“People say ‘I was there when [Shane] Warne took his 700th Test wicket’ and people will say ‘I was there when Ellyse Perry hit her 200’.”

Perry’s innings left statisticians scrambling for the record books and what they found told the story: it was the highest score by an Aussie woman in Test cricket, and the third-highest ever behind Pakistan’s Kiran Baluch (242) and India’s Mithali Raj (214).

As women’s cricket grows and grows, it is a milestone almost certain to be eclipsed, but her innings – which included 26 fours and one six – will never be forgotten.

Tests are uncommon in the women’s game. Before last week, no nation had played one in over two years.

So knocks like Perry’s come at a formative time for the game’s longest form and help further the mainstream media interest in the thrilling series.

Perry is also starring in the one-day international arena, averaging an incredible 79.29 since being promoted in the batting order in 2013.

She has hit 23 fifties in 36 hits since then, helping her shed the image of talented cricketer/footballer (Perry played and scored for Australia at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup) and turn into a genuine superstar with bat, ball and fans.

“The first word that comes to my mind is role model,” Jones said.

“Here she was after batting for over two days, being 213 not out, then bowling a few overs on the same evening and yet she came off the field and goes straight back out to sign autographs or pose for pictures with every single fan that was waiting for her at the ground.

Ellyse Perry
Perry is one of the most marketable figures in women’s sport. Photo: Getty

“You can hear all the parents were talking about those things. She is the idol for so many in the world.”

Injured Australia skipper Meg Lanning said Perry’s dedication and power made her so damaging with the bat.

“She is a perfectionist,” Lanning told the The New Daily.

“She is always the last one hitting, always having those extra drills and her ability to concentrate for so long and stick to her game is her strongest asset.

“Her game is so suited to Test level but she can launch really well at the end of the innings and can hit it further than anyone in the game in my opinion.

“Hopefully now she has that first hundred, she can make those bigger scores in the shorter format.”

For Perry, who began her international career predominantly as a bowler, the sky is the limit in the coming years.

And Jones said she will leave a tremendous legacy when she retires – something Aussie fans hope is many years away.

“I was [West Indies legend] Viv Richards when I was batting in the backyard or [fast bowler] Malcolm Marshall … now the [women’s] Ashes is live streamed and on radio,” he said.

“The accessibility is so much greater now and there is no one bigger out there than Perry at the moment.

“At North Sydney you had dads bring their boys along … people are realising that women also play at the elite level and Perry’s phenomenal achievements are only helping them.

“It means kids are already saying ‘I’m Ellyse Perry’ while playing a game in the backyard.

“That, to me, sums up what she has done in cricket.”

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