Ellyse Perry news delights cricket fans amid Matildas mania at Women's World Cup

The Aussie cricket star has hailed the Matildas and the momentum of women's sport around the world.

Ellyse Perry, pictured here alongside Matildas players.
Ellyse Perry says the momentum of women's sport was a motivator for her decision to re-sign with the Sydney Sixers. Image: Getty

Amidst the hype of the Matildas and their captivating run to the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup, Ellyse Perry has delivered more good news for women's sport in Australia. Amid a number of recent injuries and fears she might be on the verge of announcing her retirement from professional cricket, Perry revealed on Thursday that she's re-signed with the Sydney Sixers for another two years.

The 32-year-old appears to be in the twilight of her career, but shot down any retirement worries on Thursday. The prolific all-rounder signed a two-year extension with her Women's Big Bash League club, moving on from a knee injury sustained in Australia's second ODI clash against Ireland last month.

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"It's pure speculation to know what happens in a couple years' time, but from my perspective I still love being involved," she said about the retirement speculation. "In terms of motivation, it's still exactly the same, if not more."

Perry, who famously played for the Matildas before deciding to focus on cricket, said the recent momentum of women's sport around the world was one of the key motivating factors in her decision to play on. "In a lot of senses, [women's sport] has arrived and things just become more and more exciting every year. After our Ashes campaign over in the UK and the way that that was followed, the crowd numbers that we drew, the level of competition that it presented - it's hard not to want to be involved for as long as possible."

Ellyse Perry captivated by Matildas' run at World Cup

Had things turned out differently, Perry could have easily found herself playing for the Matildas at the current World Cup. The equally-gifted footballer made her international debut at 16 - playing her first match for Australia against Hong Kong in 2007.

She famously scored for the Matildas against Sweden at the 2011 World Cup, earning 18 caps and scoring a total of three goals for her country between 2007 and 2012. But she sacrificed her football ambitions to focus primarily on cricket, a decision that was fully vindicated as she became the most famous women's cricketer in the world.

Ellyse Perry at the Women's World Cup in 2011.
Ellyse Perry in action for the Matildas at the Women's World Cup in 2011. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

But that doesn't mean she hasn't kept a keen eye on her former Matildas teammates. "I don't think we've ever really seen anything like this," Perry said of the hype surrounding the Matildas.

"The level that they're playing at, the style that they're playing, the amazing entertainment that they are. Just to see what those girls have done for not only their team but for this sport and for women's sport - it's just been a phenomenal tournament.

"There's lots of precedent for this. Traditionally, the Women's Big Bash League has been the fourth most-watched sporting competition in the country - it seems a long time ago but back in 2020 we had 86,000 at the MCG.

"It's been a really steady evolution for women's sport for a long period of time. (General society) is shifting in line with a real push towards equality but also how much we value the incredible skill and endeavour of all of our female athletes and what they're able to achieve."

Perry added that she hopes the Matildas mania leads to further growth in domestic leagues. "We've got an amazing platform to be more successful and have more of a mark on the sporting landscape in Australia," she said.

"The product is there. Now it's just about providing a platform for fans to be able to come along and have a really enjoyable time. The next frontier for us is to make sure that we're able to fill those stadiums."

with AAP

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