Back injury to limit Ellyse Perry to batting role for tri-series, Commonwealth Games

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Ellyse Perry suffered a stress fracture of her back at the ODI World Cup earlier this year and is only likely to be available as a batter for the upcoming T20I tri-series in Ireland and Commonwealth Games should she be able to regain her place in the line-up.

Perry picked up the injury towards the latter part of the group stage, missing the last round-robin match and the semi-final against South Africa. She returned for the final against England as a batter where she made 17 off 10 balls having not been needed until No. 7, and ESPNcricinfo understands that on returning home to Australia, the full extent of the injury was diagnosed.

“Her availability to bowl will be dependent on her progress in the coming weeks and on the medical advice.” Australian physiotherapist Kate Beerworth said.

Perry is part of a 15-player squad that is unchanged from that which secured the ODI World Cup in New Zealand and marks the start of a new chapter for Australia following the departure of head coach Matthew Mott. However, it remains to be seen whether there is a place for Perry in the final XI after she was dropped for the T20Is that made up the multi-format Ashes series earlier this year.

Mott, who was confirmed as the white-ball coach of the England men’s team earlier this week, was part of the panel that selected this squad with those deliberations having taken place before his new job was inked in. Shelley Nitschke, an assistant coach under Mott since 2018, has been named interim head coach for these two campaigns.

Legspinner Georgia Wareham and fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck remained unavailable as they continue their recovery from long-term knee and foot injuries respectively. Wareham, who has undergone ACL reconstruction, is aiming for a return in early 2023 which cuts it fine to be available for next year’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.

Vlaeminck has been ruled out of next season’s WBBL which indicates she also faces a race against time. As when she suffered a very similar stress fracture that kept her out of the 2020 T20 World Cup, she has been using ballet as part of her recovery.

“She’s been working with The Australian Ballet over the past few months and will continue to progress her rehab using a collaborative approach with Cricket Victoria, Cricket Australia and Australian Ballet staff,” Beerworth said. “Tayla’s injury is long-term and she remains unavailable for the Tri-Series, Commonwealth Games and the WBBL, with no date set for her return at this stage.”

Last year Beerworth explained the theory behind the collaboration with ballet as part of Vlaeminck’s programme. “Ballet dancers don’t have the benefit of cushioned footwear, so they have to really be very strong through their feet, and have to be exceptional in their ability to be able to accept force through jumping and landing, which they do a lot,” she told cricket.com.au.

Having built towards reclaiming the ODI World Cup, which they did with an unbeaten run in New Zealand, there will now be a T20 focus with the target of defending their world title in South Africa early next year.

“The team’s style of play has been fairly consistent over the past couple of years, in both T20 and 50-over formats, and so we’ve been focusing on developing players who can play across formats,” national selector Shawn Flegler said. “It’s great that we’ve been able to retain the same group of players that competed so well at the World Cup.”

“It’s exciting to see the women’s game feature at the Commonwealth Games for the first time, it’s going to be a historic occasion and one we’re all looking forward to.

“The two series also present Shelley Nitschke with a great opportunity to lead the side having stepped into the interim role of head coach. We’re in a fortunate position to have some world-class coaches in our system, with both Shelley and assistant coach, Ben Sawyer contributing to the team’s success over the last few years.”

The tri-series in Ireland starts on July 16 with the Commonwealth Games beginning on July 29. Australia are grouped with India, Barbados and Pakistan.

Australia squad for Ireland tri-series and Commonwealth Games Meg Lanning (capt), Rachael Haynes, Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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