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Ellyse Perry joins Birmingham Phoenix for the Hundred

Star allrounder is among 11 Australians in the competition, joining a strong line-up at Edgbaston

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Ellyse Perry is set to return to international action this month  •  AFP

Ellyse Perry is set to return to international action this month  •  AFP

Ellyse Perry has joined Birmingham Phoenix for the inaugural edition of the Hundred, starting in July.
Perry, who was recently named the ICC Women's Player of the Decade, joins a strong Phoenix contingent, including fellow Australian Ashleigh Gardner, New Zealand captain Sophie Devine - who will also lead the Birmingham side - and, from England, wicketkeeper Amy Jones, allrounder Georgia Elwiss and rising pace bowling prospect Issy Wong.
"I can't wait to come over to the UK and get involved in The Hundred this summer," Perry said. "It's fantastic to see how it's put women's cricket in the spotlight and attracted so many of the world's top players to come and play in it. I'm looking forward to helping introduce a new generation to cricket and hopefully inspiring them to pick up a bat and ball themselves."
Perry is the 20th overseas player to join the Hundred women's competition, leaving four more overseas slots, which the ECB are hopeful of filling at least in part with players from India, subject to approval from the BCCI. So far, 11 Australians have signed up for the competition, including Perry, alongside five South Africans and two each from New Zealand and West Indies.
Perry is poised for a return to the international stage for the first time in a year when Australia kick off their tour of New Zealand with the first of three T20Is on March 28, followed by three ODIs. Perry was absent when Australia hosted New Zealand in September and October after sustaining a new injury to the same hamstring she tore during the T20 World Cup last March.
She will be reunited at Birmingham Phoenix with head coach Ben Sawyer, whom she credited with helping Australia to an emphatic victory over England in the 2019 Ashes series as an assistant coach. Sawyer also led Perry's side, Sydney Sixers, to four WBBL finals including back-to-back titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
"Ellyse is a world-class cricketer who would improve any team and we are thrilled that she will be turning out for us at Birmingham Phoenix this summer," Sawyer said. I've been lucky to work with her over a number of years and I know her quality and work ethic will be a huge asset to us and the whole competition."
Beth Barrett-Wild, head of the women's competition, said: "Ellyse's participation in the Hundred shows that the competition continues to attract the best players from around the world. I truly believe that the Hundred will be a game-changer for women's sport.
"By showcasing the most talented female cricketers on the planet, on a big stage, alongside the men, we have an opportunity to continue to normalise cricket as a sport for women and girls, as much as it is for men and boys, helping to inspire the next generation of players and fans."
The Hundred, which was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will start with a women's match between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals in London on July 21 before their respective men's sides meet the following day. Phoenix begin their campaign with a double-header involving the women's and men's sides against London Spirit at Edgbaston on July 23.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo