Greats are made not with their actions when under a spotlight but also deeds when off the public gaze. Ellyse Perry, one of the greatest allrounders in the sport, had a chance to play a T20 World Cup at home. What’s more, with Australia making it to the final, she could have played the clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, too, if not for the hamstring injury she sustained in the match against New Zealand, which ruled her out of the tournament. And so, she was confined to watch the proceedings from the sidelines.
But Perry, being the great human that she is, said that it wasn’t about her but the team and was glad that Australia won.
“I don’t think that’s justifiable at all, to be honest,” she told cricket.com.au. “Personally, it was poor timing and I would have loved to have played in the rest of the tournament, absolutely without a doubt. But at the same time, it’s not about me.”
For Perry, that night and the win still seem surreal.
“Sometimes I think about that tournament, and particularly about that final, and I don’t even think it was about our team,” she said. “It was just about the event, the moment in women’s cricket that it created was just absolutely incredible. Hopefully what it does for the sport has a flow-on effect.”
“And I think that was something the team was really quick to acknowledge. All the past players and all the effort that’s been put into developing women’s cricket over the last little bit, it made that whole tournament so much bigger than just the tournament itself.”
Perry is still grateful that she wasn’t replaced but got to stay with the squad even after being ruled out.
“And to be part of that and still be amongst the group when that was all occurring, I feel very fortunate,” she said.
“Motty (Matthew Mott, Australia’s coach) and the Australian staff could have replaced me with another player, but they let me stick around. That was pretty cool.”
For most parts of their careers, the women cricketers have had to play in front of just their family and friends. But in recent times, the spectatorship has been on the rise, none more so than the 86,174 people who turned up for the T20 World Cup final. And it was a dream journey for the hosts who didn’t have the best of starts to the competition, yet made it to the title-clash and lifted the trophy.
“As soon as our sights were set on filling the MCG for the final, it felt like that and it promised to be that,” Perry said.
“And was just about whether it was going to pan out like that or not. As the tournament went on and even in the lead-up to it in terms of the interest and scrutiny on the event, I think we all knew it was going to be something. We just didn’t know how big it was going to be.”
Even though Perry wasn’t a part of the action in the middle, the Aussies put up a show. Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney gave them a batting performance to remember while Megan Schutt did what she does the best – stifle the opposition batters with regular strike.
“I think it was just meant to be,” said the allrounder. “Everyone loves a fairy tale in sport and for us as the Australian team, it was certainly that.”
“And to share that with the Australian public and everyone who has supported us for so long, it made it a very special memory that will be hard to top for a long, long time to come.”