Australian women’s cricket star Ellyse Perry will return to career-best bowling says WBBL Sydney Sixers coach Ben Sawyer


Sixers WBBL coach Ben Sawyer has blasted critics of his captain Ellyse Perry, saying her combination of work ethic and selflessness has made her his favourite cricketer to coach.

Sydney Sixers coach Ben Sawyer is confident Ellyse Perry can return to career-best bowling form during WBBL|07.

Perry is Australia’s most-capped women’s cricketer but has come under fire recently for lukewarm displays with the ball.

She took just two wickets across the recent series against India — both in the one-off Test match — and before that hadn’t dismissed a batter at international level since October 2019.

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But Sawyer says the commentary around Perry’s performances has been off the mark.

“I think a whole lot’s been said that’s been a little bit over the top, to be perfectly honest,” said Sawyer, who is also Perry’s bowling coach at international level.

“I reckon there are seven other (WBBL) teams that would absolutely love to have her in the side. She’s a massive part of this team.”

Sawyer was quick to point out the setbacks Perry had overcome over the past 18 months.

She required surgery after tearing her hamstring off the bone in a run-out attempt gone wrong during last year’s T20 World Cup. Perry was expected to miss six months but ended up reinjuring her hamstring in Australia’s series against New Zealand last September, forcing her to spend more time on the sidelines.

“The injury was massive. She practically tore the thing off the bone,” Sawyer said.

“Listening to people criticise her when she was coming back (from injury) was a bit tough but from my end, she was putting the team first.”

Couple that with the impacts of the pandemic and Sawyer said it was no wonder Perry hadn’t always been at her best with the ball.

“Obviously with everything that’s gone on with coronavirus, she hasn’t been able to stack a lot of games back-to-back,” he said.

“But as soon as she gets a lot of bowling under her belt, which she’s now starting to do, I think she’s going to be back to where she was, if not even better.”

Just two games into the Sixers’ WBBL campaign, Perry has already shown glimpses of her best form.

In her two overs on Sunday, she dismissed both Hurricanes openers and was economical at 2-9, but Sawyer said even then, the critics came for his captain.

“I saw something after the game yesterday that she’s not considered in the top 10 cricketers in the WBBL anymore. I’d have her in the top 10, I think most teams would,” he said.

Sawyer said Perry’s combination of work ethic and selflessness has made her his favourite cricketer to coach.

“You coach lots of players and you probably don’t want to single one person out, but her work ethic is without a doubt the best in the world,” he said.

“She does everything possible to get herself right and to find different ways to do things, all for the purpose of winning matches.

“People need to understand that she’s always doing this to win games for Australia or for the Sydney Sixers or for Victoria. That’s her number one thing.”

Perry has played cricket at international level for almost 15 years, but Sawyer says she has an insatiable desire to improve her game.

“When she was struggling a bit with (bowling against) left-handers, it was, ‘Let’s sit down and figure this out’,” Sawyer said.

“It’s pretty cool to be able to work with someone who’s not completely set in their ways and wants to adjust when things come up.”

The Sixers have won both of their first two games of WBBL|07, and Sawyer said he was impressed by the side’s ability to defeat the Hurricanes on Sunday when the chips were down.

The Sixers lost star batters Ashleigh Gardner and Alyssa Healy early on for a combined total of six runs but still managed to chase down the Canes’ total.

“To get two wins is really good, especially yesterday (Monday) to do it in a way without Midge (Healy) and Ash contributing huge amounts upfront,” he said.

“Something that we haven’t been able to do a lot before is ice games and chase big totals. We’re in a position to be able to do that if we have to.”

Originally published as WBBL|07: Sydney Sixers coach confident Ellyse Perry will return to career-best form

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