Ellyse Perry set for 'bigger role' in ODI series as bowling questions remain

The allrounder is working her way back at international level but has an outstanding record in the 50-over format

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Meg Lanning expects Ellyse Perry to play a more significant role in the ODI series against New Zealand than she did in the T20Is, but also stressed the importance of building a varied attack around the young pace bowlers who are coming through.
On her return to international cricket after the hamstring injury which ended her T20 World Cup last year, Perry batted at No. 6 and bowled just one over in the two completed matches. Her innings in Hamilton alongside Ash Gardner was a useful contribution to the partnership that got Australia over the line, but it has been her limited role with the ball that has sparked debate.
"She's played a massive role for us particularly in ODIs over the last five years and has an exceptional record," Lanning said. "I dare say she will play a bigger role, there's more overs to bowl as well. She'll get her chance throughout the series.
"People who can bat long periods of time and make those match-winning contributions are extremely important to have in your side. Ellyse has shown over a long period of time that she can do that so she'll play a really big role for us."
Her bowling returns in the WBBL and WNCL were underwhelming and in the latter competition she was working on some tweaks to her run-up which have taken time to settle. She took a wicket in the one over handed to her in Napier but significantly was not given the last of the match when New Zealand needed nine to win.
On the studio coverage prior to the final match, Mel Jones suggested that in a shortened game Perry could be surplus to requirements. Ultimately she was picked in the XI, becoming the most capped T20I player in the process, but it highlighted that the next phase of Perry's career could require an evolution, especially in the shortest format.
"The interesting one for me is…there's a bit of weather around and if the overs get reduced a bit I'm looking at this team line-up and I actually think it's Ellyse Perry that's coming out," Jones said on Fox Cricket. "She's batting at six, normally you average seven or eight deliveries if it's reduced, and if they aren't going to use her with the ball who do you bring in.
"It's just that anomaly where her bowling hasn't quite hit the straps yet so Meg isn't turning to her as a first choice."
Fellow analyst Elyse Villani added: "Not sure how many times Ellyse Perry's name would have been up in terms of potentially not playing so it's not something Australia have really had to deal with before."
As it was, rain prevented a chance of seeing whether Perry would have an impact on a 13-over game, but the three-match ODI series takes her back to the format where she is ranked the No. 1 allrounder and holds a batting average of 52.10 - she has not batted lower than No. 4 in an ODI since 2014 - and where bowling-wise there could be a chance to settle into a spell.
"Ideally if you are an option in all three phases of the game then that allows you to bowl more overs," Lanning said of Perry's T20 role. "That's something we've spoken with Ellyse about, think she's been working really hard on her bowling and consistency coming back from a serious injury…but ultimately for me it just comes down to match-ups and the game situation in terms of who I go to. She's definitely there as an option.
"The fast bowling side of things is the area at the moment where we've got a couple of new players in Tayla [Vlaeminck] and Darcie [Brown]. It's been really exciting to see. Ellyse still has a really big role to play for us but the more variety we can have that will play a big role for us moving forward. So it's been great to see those young players take the game by scruff of the neck and really be aggressive.
"Ellyse is extremely competitive…she works extremely hard on her game and I'm sure she'd love to be batting higher and bowling more overs. She's doing everything she can to get herself into that position. It's been great to have her back, she's very experienced and hope to see the best of her in the one-day series."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo