By Bharath Ramaraj
On a pleasant Sunday night at the Brabourne Stadium, Ellyse Perry left everyone spellbound with a virtuoso exhibition of swing bowling. Troubled by an ankle injury, the fast bowling sensation could barely complete her run-up. But like a true champion, she overcame the pain barrier to help Australia win their sixth World Cup. Before the all-important final against the West Indies, there were question marks regarding -Ellyse’s fitness. Holly Ferling, the 17-year-old rookie fast bowler, who replaced the injured Perry, was impressive during the Super Six games. So, going into the final, there was immense pressure on Ellyse to perform. By taking three crucial wickets and making a handy contribution with the bat, she made sure she didn’t let her team down.
Ellyse’s rhythmic approach to the crease was a sight to behold in the final. She didn’t just generate prodigious swing, but outfoxed the best in the business with careful planning and perfect execution.
The essence of how well Ellyse bowled against the West Indies was best reflected in her dismissal of opener Kycia Knight. Ellyse angled it across the left-hander, before trapping her dead in front with a delivery that swung back.
In many ways, Ellyse is the gold standard of fast bowling in women’s cricket. When it comes to fast bowlers in women’s cricket, the names that readily come to mind are Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick, India’s Jhulan Goswami and England’s Katherine Brunt. But none of them have blended insouciance with geometric precision like Ellyse.
What makes Ellyse’s story even more fascinating is that she is a double international, as she has represented Australia in football as well. She even got a chance to represent Australia in the 2011 World Cup Football.
A time may come when Ellyse has to quit one sport to focus one just one. But for the time being, she seems to be enjoying playing both football and cricket. Recently, Sydney FC were desperate to select her for the W-League grand football final. Unfortunately for Sydney FC, Perry turned down that offer, as she wanted to play in a warm-up game before the cricket World Cup.
Says Holly Ferling about Ellyse: ”She’s my idol. I’ve always looked up to her. To do what she’s done at such a young age is an incredible feat and I don’t think it will ever be done again.”
The youngest player to represent Australia in cricket, Ellyse unquestionably a complete package: a double international, an awesome quick bowler who has a great attitude to go with her stunning looks.
What an athlete!
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)