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Ellyse Perry's knee injury could keep her from bowling for the entire white-ball series against West Indies that kicks off the women's home summer.
Perry hurt her left knee playing the second one-day international of Australia's series against Ireland in July. The injury forced her out of the final match against the Irish, as well as England's franchise tournament the Hundred.
In early September, Cricket Australia (CA) named the 32-year-old allrounder in the squad for the white-ball series against West Indies that begins with a T20I at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.
CA said at the time Perry was expected to be "fully available" for the six-match series, and on Tuesday she had her first competitive hit-out since July in a one-dayer for Victoria against Western Australia.
Perry did not bowl in that match and said she may not do so again until after the West Indies series finishes in mid-October.
"Nothing's wrong, it's just building workloads back up again so I'm fully prepared for the summer," she said. "In terms of my full fitness, bowling will probably be something that I still work through across this series.
"It might mean that I'm not available to bowl until late in the piece or perhaps towards the start of the WBBL."
Australia used Perry's bowling sparingly during the white-ball legs of the women's Ashes that preceded the Ireland tour and she has not sent down more than two overs in a T20I since the 2020 T20 World Cup.
Australia are rarely short of bowling options in their limited-overs teams. Fellow allrounders Ash Gardner, Annabel Sutherland, Tahlia McGrath, Jess Jonassen and Georgia Wareham have all been selected in the squad to face West Indies.
Perry shrugged at criticism of CA's decision to schedule the first match of the women's summer on the same day and in the same city as the NRL grand final.
"The summer scheduling, and how much cricket we need to fit in, you can't always get things 100 percent in a clear window," she said. "Given the time of the match, being played early in the day, at a wonderful venue, there's plenty of value in this fixture. I'm sure we'll get a good crowd."
Perry played alongside Meg Lanning as Australia's captain made her return to cricket this week following a four-month medical absence.
Lanning hit a half-century in the first of two matches and CA is hopeful she will return to the national side later in the home summer. Perry heralded Lanning's return to state cricket as a big step towards an Australia comeback.
"That's absolutely significant," she said. "At the same time, it's just significant that she's back and she's enjoying playing her cricket. She really just picked up where she left off in terms of her batting."