Following her incredible performances through the 2019 multi-format Ashes series, Charlotte Edwards, the former England captain, has rated Ellyse Perry the greatest women’s cricketer of all time.
Edwards, who retired in 2016, played against Perry several times through her career. She first faced the allrounder when she was only 17-years-old, and still making her way as a bowler who could ‘bat a bit’.
“You knew then she’d become an unbelievable batter, she was mainly a bowler in my career and now we see what an unbelievable allrounder she is and the greatest female player we’re ever going to see,” Edwards said. “In one skill alone, in terms of bowling or batting she’d be a great. And she’s getting better and better with age, she’s only 28, it’s quite scary really to think what she can achieve in the next few years.”
The England captain played 45 matches against Perry, the last of which came during the 2016 Women’s World T20 in India.
“I loved playing against her and she’s definitely improved a lot since I stopped playing.”
In the years’ following Edwards’ retirement alone, Perry has scored 2006 runs and taken 74 wickets in 59 international matches. This includes her maiden international century— an unbeaten 213 at North Sydney Oval in 2017— and her recent seven-wicket haul in Canterbury. Through the course of the Ashes series, the allrounder topped the run and wicket charts, amassing 378 runs at an average of 94.50, while also picking up 15 wickets in seven matches.
While Perry’s natural ability is something many have pointed to over the years, Edwards believes it is her sheer competitiveness and great work ethic that has seen her improve consistently.
“One thing all the great players share is that competitiveness, the desire to want to be better. That just strikes me every single time I watch her warm up and she treats the last game of the series like the first game of the series. She wants to win and it’s something sometimes you can’t coach that. That’s something very special about her. She’s so competitive and hates getting out and that’s a good thing. She values her wicket but equally she knows her game very well.”
A little over a year ago, many had pointed to Perry’s scoring rate in the shortest format as something that was holding her back with the bat. She didn’t seem to have the power or ability to consistently find the boundary like some of her more illustrious teammates. However, a great deal of work and one fantastic Women’s Big Bash League later, the allrounder has quelled those doubts and firmly established herself as not only one of the most versatile batters on the international circuit, but also arguably one of the greatest players of the modern era— female or male.