Perry won't rush back as she targets peak form
Allrounder recovering well from hamstring surgery as she looks ahead to Australia's series against New Zealand at the start of the summer
19 June 2020, 01:09 PM AEST
Star allrounder Ellyse Perry is willing to miss some games at the start of the international season in order to be back to her absolute best following a serious hamstring injury earlier this year.
Perry has nine weeks remaining in her recovery from surgery and is on track to be fit again in time for the start of Australia's home campaign against New Zealand in late September.
But the 29-year-old says she won't play in that series unless she's confident she can perform and her optimum level, leaving the door ajar for one of a host of young allrounders to get an opportunity in the national side.
"From a timeframe point of view, it'd be lovely to be fit for the New Zealand series and available for selection," she said.
"I think at this stage it's tracking that way, but there's a little bit to go. It's a nice goal to have.
"Coming back from injury, there's a really clear distinction in my mind between being fit to play and fit to perform.
"As much as I would have liked not to get injured, I see it as a bit of an opportunity too. Having this period of time to work on some things – the hamstring being a big factor, getting that better again – but hopefully it's an opportunity in the timeframe we've got to also improve other things.
"I don’t really mind ... if or if I don't play in those games. It's more about when I do play again, I want to be in a position to contribute and perform, and to not just be on the field again."
An Australian team without Perry has been a rare sight in recent years; before her injury during March's World Cup that saw her ruled out of the semi-final and final, she had not missed a single match for her country in more than three years, playing all 71 of Australia’s games in all formats.
Selector Shawn Flegler and skipper Meg Lanning have already indicated they won't try to rush Perry back into the side, especially with one eye on the one-day World Cup that is scheduled to be played in New Zealand early next year.
Allrounders Tahlia McGrath and Annabel Sutherland have both been awarded national contracts for the first time this year, and Flegler has already spruiked McGrath as a player who could fill the sizeable shoes of Perry if required.
"If Pez doesn't get back in time to play some games for Australia, then Tahlia is certainly an option to either bat in the middle order and also she can bowl through the middle overs as well," Flegler said in April.
"We see her as a genuine allrounder and we think that with Ellyse having a long-term injury that Tahlia comes into that mix as a bowling allrounder."
The campaign against New Zealand will see the two sides play three T20s at North Sydney Oval from September 27 to October 1 before three one-day internationals in Townsville, Cairns and Gold Coast are scheduled for between October 5-10.
A return to the far north of Australia to take on the White Ferns would be a sentimental one for Perry; she made her international debut as a 16-year-old in an ODI against the Kiwis in Darwin almost 13 years ago.
And she’s expecting another fierce battle for the Rose Bowl trophy, which Australia currently hold after their 3-0 home victory early last year.
"I have the most fond memories of that match and that series," Perry said of her debut in 2007.
"Certainly, going up to Darwin in July was a little bit different, roughly this time of year a long, long time ago.
"I don't think it’s changed one bit, in terms of our rivalry with New Zealand. It's always incredibly tough, we never really play a particularly easy series and they always end up going down to the last game of the series.
"Fortunately, I've been on the winning end of a lot of those, but they never seem easy. It almost feels like you've escaped from jail right at the end all the time.
"It'll be nice to play them again soon."
CommBank Women's T20 Series v New Zealand
First T20: September 27, North Sydney Oval
Second T20: September 29, North Sydney Oval
Third T20: October 1, North Sydney Oval
CommBank Women's ODI Series v New Zealand
First ODI: October 5, Riverway Stadium, Townsville
Second ODI: October 7, Cazaly's Stadium, Cairns
Third ODI: October 10, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast