With so much going on for Australian women in sport, Ellyse Perry is soaking it all up.
As a professional athlete who has been in the public eye since she first broke onto the international football and cricket circuit at the age of 16, Perry has grown with all the big developments in women’s sport and remembers what it was like before it hit big-time popularity.
Having just turned 29 last weekend, and now focusing all her efforts on cricket, the elite all-rounder is one of the most recognisable faces in the game — male or female.
She puts it plainly: “I play cricket. I’m a professional cricketer and I guess my job is to hopefully help Australia win games of cricket.
“Majority of the things that I get asked about now is around that and the progress of women’s sport. It’s in a really cool place and its so positive at the moment.
“There’s so many things ahead on the horizon and exciting opportunities. It’s nice to be a part of it.”
With some of her former Matildas teammates finally achieving pay parity this week, and a whole list of incredible achievements by Australian women over the course of the year — including the likes of Ash Barty — Perry says the rise of women’s sport comes close to being the best thing she’s been a part of in her 13 years of professional sport.
“Having success in World Cups is some of the biggest career highlights that I’ve had, but more generally speaking, the biggest highlight is just the development of the sport and being involved in this period of women’s cricket, but also in women’s sport in general in Australia, where it’s been a bit of a watershed moment.
“We’ve got so many more professional female athletes in the country all of a sudden because there is such interest in women’s sport. There are people following it, there’s a lot more money being invested into it and girls are getting the opportunity to live out their dreams.
“So to have kind of seen the other side of that, where it wasn’t quite there for a number of years, and to have lived that progress has been pretty amazing.”
Outside of sport, Perry likes to be her own person and plays down her superstardom with some pretty humble reflections on her life so far.
As someone who has been consistently successful for a long period of time so early in her career, she has had a significant impact on the way women’s sport is viewed all around the world.
“I’m not a particularly extroverted person. I’m quite shy and I absolutely love my job — if you’d call it a job — and I like everything that goes along with it, but I think away from that I’m probably no more interesting or special than anyone else, and so I really like just doing normal stuff, as I’m sure most people in our team do,” she said.
“I think as well, Australians are a little bit different with the way that we approach public figures, and so I never really feel like [the attention] is overwhelming or too much to handle.”
Perry has already been busy with bat and ball in this season of the Women’s Big Bash, accumulating 279 runs at an average of 139.5 in five matches so far this season, including smashing a record partnership score of 199 with Alyssa Healy against the Melbourne Stars last week.
Next up for her team — the Sydney Sixers — is the Brisbane Heat at North Sydney Oval this Saturday afternoon.