Cricketers head to Games aiming to evolve

Roger Vaughan / AAP News

Australian cricket superstar Ellyse Perry is ready to help the all-conquering Aussie Women’s Team continue to evolve as the side heads towards a new challenge at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

When you are out in front, act as though you are behind.

One wonders what the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu would make of Ellyse Perry and the other members of the Australian women’s cricket team.

But his quote resonates with an all-time great sporting side and one of the hottest gold medal favourites in Birmingham, where women’s T20 will make its Commonwealth Games debut.

The Games will be the next major assignment for Australia after they successfully defended their one-day World Cup title in early April.

Given Perry and her teammates are so dominant, what comes next? Do they need to start thinking about team transition?

Perry, captain Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy are all 30 or older.

Remember what happened to the men’s Test team when Chappell, Lillee and Marsh left in the ’80s, or when Warne, Gilchrist and McGrath retired in the 2000s.

But Perry says the next step is evolution – to become even better.

She notes that Georgia Wareham, Tayla Vlaeminck and Sophie Molineux – all young guns – are out with long-term injuries.

All three would have made compelling cases to be in the 15-player Birmingham squad.

Change has been forced on the team already, with coach Matthew Mott poached to take over the England men’s one-day side.

“The challenge now for us is to actually evolve the way we play and take it to another level,” Perry told AAP.

“Hopefully that puts a gap between us and the rest of the cricketing world.

“We’re incredibly aware of how much India are progressing at the moment and how much potential they have.

“We have to be really hot on that and make sure that we creating a gap there, so they don’t catch up.”

India will be Australia’s first Games opponents on July 29 in the pool matches.

At this stage, Perry will compete at the Games as a batter only as she recovers from a back stress fracture.

So there is an evolution happening as well in the career of the great allrounder, the o nly Australian to play at the soccer and cricket World Cups.

At 30, Perry is determined to keep playing cricket the way she always has.

But to do so, Perry is having to look carefully at her preparation and training, mindful that her body now has a few sporting kilometres on the clock.

She was also left out of the Australian T20 team earlier this year, so even the great Perry is not immune from selection pressure.

“It probably gives me some really great insights on where I need to take the way I prepare to play, I guess, to a different place,” she said of her injury rehabilitation.

“The reason I say that is I have a large amount of volume behind me now, just from the period of time I’ve been playing, and it’s the way in which I train and the style.

“It needs to complement how I want to play, which I guess is how I’ve played my whole career.

“Maybe that comes across as stubborn, but it’s the only way I’d feel good about playing the game – to approach it the way I always have.

But absolutely, having an open mind and an emphasis on the way I prepare – it’s a really big piece of the puzzle for me now.”



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