ICC Women's World Cup 2017
Peerless Perry reaches new peak
Southern Stars allrounder joins exclusive club after being named Wisden's Leading Cricket in the World
6 April 2017, 12:13 PM AEST
Star allrounder Ellyse Perry added yet another honour to her already remarkable list of achievements on Wednesday, named one of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack’s two Leading Cricketers in the World for 2016.
She received the honour alongside India captain Virat Kohli, her recognition a reflection of a year where she continued to raise the bar for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars.
Quick single: Wisden releases its cricketers of the year
In doing so, she became part of an elite club, joining teammate Meg Lanning and New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates as players who have received the title since Wisden first recognised women in their awards three years ago.
Winners of the men's award, handed out in its current form since 2003, include Australian greats Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, and India legend Sachin Tendulkar.
A quick glance at Perry’s numbers reveals just how incredible her form in 2016 was, particularly with the bat.
In 13 one-day innings for Australia, Perry passed fifty on nine occasions.
That included matching her ODI high score of 90 against India in Canberra in January, before bettering it at the same ground in November when she posted 93no against South Africa.
One game later, again at Manuka Oval, she scored 95no.
The 26-year-old scored 732 runs at an average of 81.33 in ODIs in 2016, while with the ball she captured 20 wickets at 24.40, the equal-most of any Australian in 2016 alongside spinner Jess Jonassen.
In T20s, Perry averaged 37.75 – the highest of any Southern Star – and took 10 wickets.
Her batting average in one-dayers is now 47.47 – not bad for a player who made her Australian debut in 2007 as a fast bowler and was only elevated into the top five in Australia’s batting line-up during the 2013 Ashes.
Since that move, Perry has averaged 92.53, having scored 17 half-centuries in her past 24 innings.
She briefly rose to No.2 in the ICC’s batting rankings behind captain Lanning late last year, but has since dropped to No.6 after an injury-hampered ODI series against New Zealand, which saw Perry bat just once, scoring one run after recovering from first a hamstring injury, then an elbow complaint.
Reflecting on her dramatic improvement with the bat late last year, Perry told cricket.com.au she still believes she can get better.
"I suppose I've chipped away at (my batting) the last little bit," Perry said after her player-of-the-series performance against South Africa last November.
"A large part of that has got to do with the wonderful help I've had from a number of coaches and just the opportunity in the middle and to learn a bit more about my game and the way it works for me.
"Mixed in is a bit of luck, every cricketer needs luck at different points in time."
Perry might be thankful for a bit of luck, but there's also no denying the work the allrounder has put into her batting game, spending countless hours in the nets honing her technique.
"There's plenty (to work on)," she said.
"I think the big one is being a bit quicker in my innings and scoring off a few more balls and upping the rate through middle part of the innings when I'm out there.
"That's a good challenge for me, especially against world-class bowling.”
A post shared by Ellyse Perry (@ellyseperry) on
While Perry – along with her Southern Stars teammates - is currently enjoying a well-deserved break from cricket, travelling through Europe with husband Matt Toomua, the allrounder will be key to Australia’s hopes of defending their 50-over World Cup title in England this year.
The Australian squad will reassemble later this month, with the players to be put through their paces at two intensive training camps in Queensland before they depart for the United Kingdom in June.