Australia Women have a bumper home summer ahead, with a multi-format series against India preceding the Ashes against England. Speaking to the media on Thursday, allrounder Ellyse Perry looked ahead to the busy summer, which includes a day-night Test at the WACA.
On playing Test cricket at the WACA and against India
It's absolutely wonderful and the sentiment right across the team is that any opportunity to play Test-match cricket is a really, really special one for us. To be doing that against another nation in India as well as England in one summer, also at home and at two really great cricket grounds is something to really look forward to.
On the advantages of playing at the WACA
I actually think, having played a Test match there before, it is an absolutely wonderful venue for women's Tests. The pitch obviously provides just that little bit of extra pace and bounce. The ball carries really well [and] there is a bit of sideways movement as well. So that is certainly, I suppose, in favour of our conditions and the Australian style of cricket. But having said that, looking at the Indian team - some of the skills their players, particularly their batsmen [have] - it's going to be a really well-contested Test match. And yeah, a great opportunity for both sides.
On playing a multi-format series before the multi-format Ashes
It's certainly great preparation. I think the more Test matches we play and the more multi-format series that we play, the better we are going to get at it. A number of players have been speaking about the desire to play more of these multi-format series against other top-tier nations [other than England], and for that to come to fruition this summer against both India and England is absolutely brilliant for the team. This gives us such a wonderful opportunity, and I think it's a sign of more progress in the women's game both on the domestic front but including on the international front with India having a strong desire to be involved in Test-match cricket too.
On the need for longer formats in state cricket to prepare players for Test cricket
Yeah, I think there's more than one benefit to that if it's possible - and obviously that's taking into consideration a number of different factors - but I just think's it's great for development of players too. Probably the biggest impediment to domestic players getting opportunities to continue and develop is just the chance to play enough at the competitive level. Extending games over multiple days is a great way for girls to play more cricket and be exposed to more match-time. So I think aside from the benefit of preparing for red-ball cricket, it's just great for overall development and cricket-skill development as well.
On the challenges of stepping up to play Test matches infrequently
There's certainly more opportunity and excitement than there is challenge to those games because they are such a novelty, and everyone very much looks forward to playing and really gives absolutely everything. They go out to make sure that the game is played competitively and in the right spirit, but I guess the biggest challenge is just making sure we do it justice and produce a high-quality and an entertaining game. And that is sometimes [difficult] when you are playing just a one-off Test match whether it's conditions at times that don't promote results. Yet they are all [about] just the experience and the different tactical demands. Obviously, the more you play the better you get with those things. So it's not [only] challenging, it's really exciting but we'll certainly love to play more Tests to hone those skills.
On the challenge of the pink-ball Test against India
We've only played one [day-night] match and that was four years ago. It'll be a very different team playing the Test match against India than there was then, so I think it's very much level pegging. India are playing a Test match against England in their summer coming up, so in a sense they'll probably go one up on us this year in terms of that. I just think it's going to be a very level, competitive match.
On whether the points system used for the Ashes should apply to the India series as well
From my point of view, I love to see the Ashes in terms of being a multi-format series and the points being combined at the end. Without a doubt, those Ashes series that we have played have been the toughest series I have been involved in. They span across seven games, [and] all those games mean something. [It] brings a broader narrative to the series, and it can produce some amazing moments as a result. So from my perspective - and given the fact that women's teams don't change too much at the moment between different formats - I can't see why we can't have a similar points system. Not my decision, but I really like it that way.
On the opportunity to play two Tests in one summer, and their importance given her outstanding record in the format
Not that I think [it's any more important to me] than anyone else being involved in the matches. It is such great opportunities for us all and wonderful experiences, like me having to find the baggy green at home somewhere, and bring it out and wear it for four days or however long the match goes [on] for. There's a real sense of a special occasion, so undoubtedly everyone just likes to be involved in those matches and do well.
On whether there's an overload of cricket heading into 2022, with Australia set to play against India and England before the 50-overs World Cup and the Commonwealth Games
It's wonderful to see, more or less, our most congested summer of cricket we've ever had. In retrospect to the last year, in a roundabout way it was probably a blessing to have a slow year after what was a pretty busy period before, culminating with the T20 World Cup. We are certainly aware of the fixtures coming up over the next 18 months. It's actually a wonderful opportunity for the team to be exposed to that level of demand, with touring and playing and competition, and all of those series really being important ones, especially now with the Test match against India, that series becomes really relevant and important; and then the Ashes and the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. We're certainly playing very meaningful cricket now, which is great.
On her plans regarding The Hundred
I think at this stage it's just sort of playing it by ear and seeing how it pans out. I know ECB are doing everything they can to provide opportunities for international players to play in the competition. I think if it is feasible, it would be great preparation and experience too. It is still very much a possibility and could be really great prep.
On whether Australia could go with a pace-heavy attack at the WACA
It will depend on the conditions and how the wicket presents at that time. One of the great things about the group, the way it's evolving, is there's some wonderful young players are coming through, certainly some great young quicks. Equally, our spin stocks are just as exciting - Georgia [Wareham], Sophie [Molineux] and Ash [Ashleigh Gardner] have been bowling really well over the last six months or so. So there's some great options there. I think one of our strengths is just how balanced our side is. From many ways, this is a great place for us to play a Test and for whoever gets a chance with the ball, it will be pretty exciting.
On whether women should play five-day Tests
I probably haven't played enough of the four-day format to know if that's enough or if we need to go five days. I don't really have a strong opinion on that. I do think what's important is the venue and where we play those matches, if we want to draw a result out of the game, because on benign pitches it becomes even harder across four days rather than five, but when you've got wickets that are promoting a fair contest between bat and ball, in some ways I don't see why four days isn't long enough. You look at men's cricket and the trend over the last little bit, Test matches aren't lasting the five days as often as they used to, and when you throw a pink ball into the mix, and day-night Test matches, those games shorten up a bit more. To me, it's more about where we pick to play these games, make sure the venues promote results happening in the game, basically.