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The Hundred: Ellyse Perry signs for Birmingham Phoenix




Ellyse Perry becomes the latest star to join The Hundred line-up


Ellyse Perry, Australia all-rounder and ICC player of the decade, has signed for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred this summer. She is just one of the many international stars to have joined the brand new competition scheduled to begin on July 21 with a women’s fixture between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals.

At 16, Perry became the youngest person ever to play for Australia. This summer, the 30-year-old will feature for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred alongside New Zealand T20 Captain Sophie Devine. The star-studded squad also includes England duo Amy Jones and Georgia Elwiss. Perry is not the only Australian to have signed for The Hundred however. Northern Superchargers and Welsh Fire have already announced the signings of all-rounder Alyssa Healy and batting specialist Meg Lanning respectively.

In July 2019, Perry became the first cricketer to reach both 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in T20 Cricket. Since then, she has added a great deal more to her tally. She is now approaching an incredible 5,000 runs and 300 wickets for Australia across all formats. Playing for one national team just wasn’t enough though. The all-rounder has more than 200 cricket caps for Australia, but has also played for the Australia National Football Team. At the 2011 World Cup, she scored a stunning consolation goal in their 3-1 defeat against Sweden in the quarterfinals.



Hopes for The Hundred

Perry believes that The Hundred has the potential to attract a new generation of cricket fans. The hope is that it will appeal to those who prefer action and excitement every ball over the traditional form of the game. The games will last just two and a half hours, shorter than the average T20 fixture. With the quality of players already signed up, the stage is set for a unique and thrilling tournament. It might even go some way to knocking over that all-to-familiar standpoint that “cricket is just so boring”.

As with any innovation in sport, there has been some resistance to the competition. Some have argued that running the women’s tournament alongside the men’s illelegitimises its success as a sport in its own right. However, Perry anticipates that The Hundred will challenge the way things are done. She echoes the thoughts of Southern Brave head coach Charlotte Edwards and England all-rounder and Trent Rockets captain Nat Sciver, who see The Hundred as a real step towards promoting women’s cricket on a level playing field.

Unlike many other sporting competitions, both the men’s and women’s competitions will receive the same prize money. The £600,000 on offer for victors will be split equally between the two winning teams. The tournament will kick off with a women’s match and the women’s competition will run simultaneously alongside the men’s. It will feature nine double headers, with both games taking place on the same day at the same stadium. It’s “a great opportunity for the sport to showcase the women’s side of things”, Perry said. “I think it’s great the men’s and women’s tournaments are pitted together and put on an equal standing.”

Beth Barrett-Wild, Head of The Hundred Women’s Competition, shares this sentiment.  “By showcasing the most talented female cricketers on the planet, on a big stage, alongside the men, we have an opportunity to continue to normalise cricket as a sport for women and girls, as much as it is for men and boys. I truly believe that The Hundred will be a gamechanger for women’s sport.”

Only time will tell if the tournament stands up to its aims, but it’s a step in the right direction. The tournament will provide an unprecedented opportunity for visibility and games will be even more accessible since a number will air free-to-view on the BBC. With an exciting, action-packed new format coming to cricket, it might just give rise to a new generation of fans. And with an equal share of media coverage across both competitions, it might just challenge some of the deep-rooted perceptions of cricket as a long, dull game played solely by men in white.


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