Former England captain Charlotte Edwards has lauded Ellyse Perry, the Player of the 2019 Women's Ashes, as the "greatest" the women's game is "ever going to see", following Australia's emphatic run in the multi-format series where they beat the hosts 12-2, losing only the tour-ending T20I.
A record 7 for 22 - the best figures by an Australian woman in ODIs - in the third ODI, a second consecutive Ashes Test hundred - a first-innings 116 in the one-off Test at Taunton, which she followed up with an unbeaten 76 in the second dig - headlined Perry's 378 runs and 15 wickets in the series overall. She averaged 94.50 with the bat and 12.86 with the ball across all three formats.
Currently the No. 1-ranked allrounder in ODIs, Perry topped both the batting and bowling charts - across formats - rounding off her England tour with a gritty 50-ball 60, albeit in a losing cause, in the third T20I on Wednesday.
"I loved playing against her, and she's definitely improved a lot since I stopped playing," Edwards, who retired from international cricket in 2016, said of first playing against a 17-year-old Perry in 2008, when the Australian was known more for her bowling than her batting skills.
"You knew then she'd become an unbelievable batter," Edwards added. "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."
The last Ashes, hosted by Australia in 2017, saw Perry hit an Australia record 213 not out in the historic day-night Test in Sydney, her maiden international hundred. In this edition, it took her only two balls to make an impact, bowling Amy Jones on her way to a match-winning three-wicket haul in the first ODI.
"In one skill alone, in terms of bowling or batting, she'd be a great," Edwards said. "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."
Perry's dominance across formats in the recent past has fetched her records and rewards aplenty. In 2017, she become the inaugural recipient of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year. The Test double-hundred was the crowning glory in a year that saw her score 756 runs across formats, pick up 20 wickets at an average of 32, and bag her the Belinda Clark Award for the second time her career, after 2016. In November last year, during the World T20 in the Caribbean, Perry became the first Australian cricketer, male or female, to play in 100 T20Is.
There was another milestone during the second T20I of the Ashes this year at Hove, where her unbeaten 47 in Australia's seven-wicket win made her the first player - male or female - to accomplish the career double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in T20I cricket.
In Edwards' assessment, much of Perry's success since her earliest days of juggling dual international careers in cricket and football, and then committing herself exclusively to the former, has been down to a standout aspect in her approach towards sport: competitiveness.
"One thing all the great players share is that competitiveness, the desire to want to be better," Edwards said. "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'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."