Tahlia McGrath’s all-rounder performance in the first T20I of 2021-22 Women’s Ashes guided Australia to chase down a record total at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday. However, since the announcement of the teams during the toss, an exclusion that shocked everyone was that of the best Ashes player, Australia’s key all-rounder Ellyse Perry.
In fact, the disappointment was such that instead of discussing the playing XI for the game, fans were more focused on Perry’s exclusion. A crucial player of Australia’s squad contributing exceptionally well with both the bat and the ball, Ellyse Perry has achieved a number of milestones in her career and when seen from the Ashes perspective is the all-time leading wicket-taker of the big competition and is just 42 runs away to achieve the feat with the bat as well. Though, she is already the top position holder in the run-scorer tally when aggregated from 2013, the time when Ashes changed into a multi-format points-based series instead of just Test Matches.
However, Perry who was adjudged as the ICC Women’s Cricket of the Decade wasn’t able to bring out her best performance last year. She made just 35 runs from 4 innings she got a chance in out of the 6 T20Is matches she played. In ODIs, Perry aggregated 113 runs from 6 matches (5 innings) with 56* being the only 50+ score. Though she did end up as the leading run-scorer (69 runs from both innings) in the only test the team played, it wasn’t the Perry we used to witness before the pandemic came in.
Explaining Perry’s exclusion, the team’s coach Matthew Mott spoke on Channel Seven saying,
All our research shows the ability of those at 5, 6, and 7 to score quickly and get a high strike rate (is important in T20Is),”
“So once she wasn’t considered in the top order, it became a different conversation and that’s why someone like Grace has come in.”
Ellyse Perry is regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time and her absence is definitely a huge call as Isa Guha, one of the best female commentators rightly said on Fox Cricket
“It’s a huge call, but a testament to the depth of Australian cricket at the moment they can afford to leave someone of her caliber out,”
“She’s arguably the greatest player that’s ever lived in women’s cricket.
However, as Isa went on further mentioning, the fact that tournaments like WBBL have brought into the spotlight some young talents from the country can’t be left behind. Looking at the positive side of this, the emergence of the future stars of Australian cricket is obviously a great sign for women’s cricket in Australia and if given a chance these young guns have the capability to achieve big. This is just what Tahlia McGrath did, she got a chance to prove her all-around capability over Perry and she successfully converted that opportunity into a Player of the Match Performance.
Though we might not be able to witness Perry in the shortest format, it is a high probability of watching her contributing for the Aussies in the Test and ODIs scheduled next but it is all in the hands of Skipper Lanning and the team management on whom they find as a perfect fit for the playing XI.
Meanwhile, Australia gets onto the field tomorrow, Saturday, January 22 with a 2-point lead with the hope to seal the T20I series of the 2021-22 Women’s Ashes while England will try to bounce back with possibly a stronger bowling unit.
Author of the poetry book ‘The Scent of Rhythm’, I am a passionate writer and a Sports enthusiast who writes on Cricket and plays Badminton.