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Perry sees 'silver lining' from bowling lay-off as new challenges await

The allrounder's form with the bat in WBBL will be key to whether she can return to Australia's T20 side

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Ellyse Perry returned to the bowling crease last week for the first time since March  •  Getty Images

Ellyse Perry returned to the bowling crease last week for the first time since March  •  Getty Images

Ellyse Perry believes there could be long-term benefits of her recent downtime from bowling as she looks to regain her role as a fully-fledged allrounder in the Australia side.
Perry bowled for the first time since March, when she was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the back, in last weekend's WNCL clash against South Australia in Adelaide where she claimed 1 for 7 in three overs of a graduated comeback.
"In a lot of ways I think having that back injury was a bit of a silver lining," she said at an event to announce NRMA insurance as a new major sponsor of Cricket Australia. "I've had a chance to slightly tweak a few things technically and think that's given me an action that's a little more sound now and takes a bit of stress off my body, too."
Perry has not played for Australia since the ODI World Cup final against England in Christchurch having lost her place in the T20I side. But there were signs in the Hundred, where she played for Birmingham Phoenix, of her batting finding an extra gear - with a strike-rate of 136.73 - and the upcoming WBBL with Sydney Sixers looms as vital if Perry wants to ward off the challenge of younger players in the T20 format.
"Think every season you want to try and improve and evolve," she said. "Particularly from a personal point of view, that's been a great challenge in the last little bit to work on my batting and try to elevate a few different things."
There will be at least one opening in Australia's T20 side when they next come together for the tour of India in December - which forms part of their lead-in to the defence of the T20 World Cup in February - following the retirement of Rachael Haynes and there could be another if Meg Lanning does not return, which would also leave Australia needing a new captain.
There is a sense that the side is entering the early stages of a new era under the now permanent head coach Shelly Nitschke, and the early rounds of the WNCL have shown some of the batting depth on offer with centuries for Annabel Sutherland and Georgia Voll among the five scored already this season.
"Don't know if it's a new era, but a bit of a chance to continue to evolve," Perry said. "With Shelley coming on board as full-time head coach now there's some changes, but I think it's something that in a lot of ways we've been planning for a while.
"We are incredibly fortunate to have some wonderful depth within the squad and more broadly in domestic cricket so I think there's going to be some new opportunities for players. We've got a lot of younger players coming through as well and pushing for spots so that's always exciting.
"We'd love to hold on to the nucleus of what we've been doing over the last couple of years because it's been successful but certainly within the group in any sport you have to continue to evolve."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo