In a big blow to the Sydney Sixers, star player and captain Ellyse Perry will be forced to sit out of the opening WBBL game against the Melbourne Stars. The Big Bash authorities have no choice but to suspend Perry for the season opener on account of three over-rate penalties from last season.
The tournament’s rules state that the captain will face a one-match suspension from their next WBBL game for a third-over-rate infraction. In the last season, the Sixers were behind the rate in the final against Adelaide and for two regular season matches.
In Perry’s absence, all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner will be leading the side. Gardner is an invaluable player in the Australian side and has an impressive WBBL record. In 111 games she has amassed 2215 runs at an average of 22.84 and has taken 65 wickets at an economy rate of 6.98. She has a high score of 114 and her best bowling figures are 2/7. She also has experience with captaincy and has led the Governor General’s XI in a 50-over match against Pakistan earlier this year.
Since it is a new season, both the Sixers and broadcasters Seven Network asked for Perry’s punishment to be disregarded but their request was denied. During the season launch, Big Bash Boss, Alistair Dobson told the Australian Associated Press (AAP), “The competition runs with a set of playing conditions and rules around it…Everyone understands what those rules are, that’s the situation we’re in.”
The slow over-rate in the final happened in a match broadcast on the Seven network. This led to longer gaps in play for advertising breaks but Dobson said that it was, “factored into the timing of the innings.”
Adding on he said, “The rules and playing conditions generally take that all into account…The match officials take into account that there is a unique element of the WBBL where the games simulcast have some different elements to those that aren’t when they do calculations.”
Perry is disappointed to be missing the opening game but holds no grudges. She said, “It’s a bummer to miss the first game, but I was very much aware of the rules and it is what it is…It’s a really hard subjective measure sometimes to understand where time is gained and lost.” She said that it is a situation she hopes to learn from.
The Sixers are among the favorites along with Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers to win the tournament but it is too early to say anything. Perth is a strong contender with English star Nat Sciver Brunt coming on board and the Melbourne Stars have Meg Lanning returning. The Renegades have run machine Hayley Matthews as part of the squad and the Sydney Thunder’s overseas contingent is the competition’s best with players like Marizanne Kapp and Lauren Bell.
Echoing these sentiments, Perry said, “If you look at teams on paper, they’ve all got their different strengths and it’s really evenly matched across the board…It’s probably more who’s got the form and momentum throughout the competition.”
(Quotes sourced from the Western Australian)
Vaishnavi is a passionate author with an unwavering love for cricket, particularly women’s cricket. Her writing reflects her deep admiration for the sport and her dedication to promoting women’s participation in it. When she’s not following the latest cricket matches, Vaishnavi can be found engrossed in books or enjoying movies.