Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Back-to-basics Perry tries to piece together bowling jigsaw. Ellyse Perry involved in an intense discussion about her action with Starc
Ellyse Perry involved in an intense discussion about her action with Starc
The intense session ended with Ellyse Perry getting into an animated chat with Mitchell Starc and Ben Sawyer. It seemed to be about her load-up at the crease. She even tried demonstrating it to them, getting into the position where she's about to uncoil her body and drive her right arm up and then through her action. Perry seemed to suggest that the arm wasn't always getting through as smoothly as she wanted it to, thereby losing her shape at the point of release. There were some recommendations shared by both Starc and Sawyer, the team bowling coach, and then some more discussion.
It eventually took the ground staff at Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium to politely ask them to leave the nets area before the trio were on their way. The gesticulating though continued right through, with Starc even trying to make his point by replicating a right-armer's action. It only stopped when Perry broke away to join the fielding drills underway under lights on the main square. Starc though kept rolling his arm over, still lost in deep thought. Not too far away, Sawyer was doing the same.
The Ellyse Perry bowling workshop commenced exactly at 05:05 pm on Tuesday (September 28) evening. The sun had more or less faded away. The rest of the Australian team had finished their nets and begun sauntering away towards the dressing-room. Perry herself had spent nearly an hour till then batting in the various nets. There were only a couple of reserve batters left now to take strike when Perry and Sawyer began setting up for their session. They started with placing four cones-three blue and one white-in line with the right-armer's run-up, starting from the bowling crease. Video analyst Sunny Kaliyar was meanwhile placed right behind the stumps, armed with his camera.
Perry, now donning a pink hairband, rolled her arm over for the first time at 05.10 pm. There was no run-up. It was more her just loading up from a stationary position and trying to complete her action. Sawyer stood halfway down the pitch with his baseball mitt on. The first ball wasn't to anyone's liking. It was floaty and was snared by Sawyer somewhere near his shoulder.
The second one had some more zip to it. It thudded into the mitt. There were nods of acknowledgement from both Sawyer and Kaliyal behind the stumps. Then a quick huddle between the three to just go over the video and back at it. This time Perry started from the second cone. And there were many more nods and eventually even audible cheers over the next 45 minutes or so as Ellyse Perry got her bowling rhythm back, one cone at a time.
It was fascinating viewing. Here was one of the elite athletes in the world swallowing her ego and stripping her game down to its bare basics and building it back up, only to get better.
The third ODI in Mackay had been a difficult one for the champion cricketer. Over a long career, she's had plenty of good and bad days. But, rarely had she looked out of sorts, the way she did against Smriti Mandhana & Co on Sunday (September 26). Coach Matthew Mott had earlier in the day spoken about how the experienced all-rounder had been having conversations with Sawyer on getting her “alignments” right. And here she was in the Gold Coast, putting her head down and giving it her all to get it in order again.
By 05:17 pm, Perry had started running in from two cones out-off around five strides. The focus now wasn't only on how she was finishing her action though. It was also on how she was running in. The difference in release points for Perry, in terms of where she is at the crease, is quite evident when she's bowling to right-handers as compared to left-handers. She'd generally be a lot closer to the umpire while bowling to Shafali Verma as compared to Mandhana. And a majority of the attention was now given to making sure that she was completing her action well in both scenarios, and also that her right arm was coming through a lot smoother post the load-up.
In the ODI series against India, Ellyse Perry struggled for control and ended up without a single wicket
To do so, she started moving the cones around and then running in either to the left of them-simulating bowling to a left-hander-or to the right of them-imagining a right-hander at the crease.
After every 5-6 deliveries though, she would get together again behind the stumps with the analyst and the coach for a quick review.
The rest of the team had by then already commenced their fielding session with the lights now having taken full effect over the Metricon Stadium. At one-point, assistant coach Shelley Nitschke came looking for Perry. And she immediately realised that the premier fast bowler wasn't done yet. Nitschke even quip about how she didn't expect Perry to be joining them soon and how she didn't mind even if it took another hour.
The run-up was getting longer all the time meanwhile. By 05:27 pm, Perry was coming in from 8 steps out. The rhythm seemed to be getting better all the time too. So was the conviction in Sawyer's voice every time he shouted out a word of praise. The frequency of the impromptu review meetings now started dropping away too as Sawyer took up a position behind Perry rather than in front of her.
At around 05:35 pm, with Perry now nearly coming in at full tilt, Sawyer suggested that she bowl three balls from either side of the cones. Of course, Perry ended up bowling 15 from each side. But she also decided to add a few more cones, both white and blue, rather than having them spread out. Now the straight line of cones stretched right back to the top of her customary bowling mark.
It's around this time that Starc, who'd been busy handing down tips about the pink ball to the fast bowlers in the team, returned to the net. He now had his bowling spikes and a couple of white balls to boot. He was however informed by the ground staff that he wouldn't have enough time to have a bowl. And once Starc realised that Perry wasn't done yet either, he instead chose to play wicket-keeper and get a closer look at what his female counterpart was working on.
By 05:44 pm, Perry was running in with full steam and hitting the top of off-stump repeatedly, from both sides of the cones. Sawyer continued dishing out encouragement while Starc joined in too now. But by now, Perry was feeling more like herself, or so it seemed. She didn't really need anyone else telling her, that she was not just hitting her stride, but also getting the ball through the way she likes to. The legs were pumping a lot more too in the run-up. And by the time she bowled her final delivery of the session, at around 05:47 pm, her smile was getting wider too. She then joined Starc and Sawyer to help the ground-staff, who'd stayed back for her, cover the pitch, and wrap up the area. Then came the animated chat between two of the most influential fast bowlers of their generation.
Perry didn't play too much of a role in the fielding drills and finished the evening off doing what she likes best, kicking a football around with Tayla Vlaeminck.
We might not yet have seen the best of Perry so far this Indian tour. But based on how she went two days out from the Test, and the effort she's putting in, she can't be too far from it.