Australia’s leading allrounder Ellyse Perry has joined a select group in becoming a multiple winner of the Belinda Clark award as the nation’s women’s cricketer of the year.
With 116 votes, Perry finished comfortably ahead of her nearest challenger Beth Mooney, at the end of a season in which she was a pivotal part of a successful Ashes campaign against England despite a shoulder surgery ruling out captain Meg Lanning. In doing so, Perry joined Lanning, Shelley Nitschke, Lisa Sthalekar and Karen Rolton as players to have secured the award on more than one occasion.
The centrepiece of Perry’s year was a monumental, undefeated 213 in the Ashes Test match at North Sydney Oval , which secured a draw and all but ensured Australia would preserve the series lead they had established during the ODI component of the contest over the final Twenty20 matches. Perry’s all-round abilities were amply demonstrated by the fact she not only led all run-makers during the voting period but also finished third behind Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen among the bowlers.
The other major women’s winner of the night as Beth Mooney, who was named the domestic player of the year for an extremely consistent contribution with the bat over the voting period. Georgia Redmayne, the 24-year-old Hobart Hurricanes representative, was handed the Betty Wilson award as the young female player of the year.
Tasmania’s captain, George Bailey, was rewarded for his persistence as the men’s domestic player of the year, racking up a combined 1468 runs at 52.43 across Sheffield Shield, domestic limited overs and Big Bash League games over the voting period, including a trio of centuries. This was a significant effort in response to his dumping from the Australian limited-overs team in December 2016, and an example to other mature-aged players (Bailey is 35) trying to improve their games.
In reference to his now trademark closed stance, with his front leg and backside facing the bowler, Bailey joked that it had been a case of misunderstanding. Saying he had been devastated to lose his international place, and looking for advice, Bailey said he had been told by his father to “turn the other cheek” to the selectors. The unusual batting stance, Bailey deadpanned, had been the result.