Star allrounder Ellyse Perry may miss out on Australia’s first one day international against Pakistan in Brisbane on Thursday because of a knee injury.
Vice-captain Alex Blackwell says the Southern Stars will be able to cover the loss if star allrounder Ellyse Perry is unable to play in the one-day international series opener against Pakistan on Thursday.
A knee injury has put 23-year-old dual international Perry in doubt for Australia’s match in Brisbane but Blackwell said the World Cup champions could handle loss in both pace bowling and batting.
“It is a blow having someone of her calibre out, but in the meantime we have some terrific depth in our ranks to cover her,” Blackwell told AAP.
The series marks the first round of the inaugural Women’s Championship, where the top eight ranked teams will face off for spots in the 2017 World Cup in England.
Nations will play each other in three ODIs between 2014 and 2016, with points being awarded for each game and the top four sides gaining automatic qualification.
The championship was developed to expand the bilateral playing program in women’s cricket and this year Australia, West Indies, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, India and Pakistan are all in the mix.
Australia hosts Pakistan first with four ODI and four T20 matches during August and September in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“We’re not taking Pakistan lightly, we want to perform well in all eight matches,” said Blackwell.
“It’s all in the lead up to the next World Cup and each match is important in a points structure.
“They’re a side that’s improved dramatically since I first played them at the 2009 World Cup. There’s some quality spinners in their attack.”
The Southern Stars have played the world number eight team just six times since 1997.
“It’s great that we’re able to play Pakistan outside of a World Cup because we so rarely get to play against them,” Blackwell said.
“It’ll do wonders for them in terms of development and I think all round women’s cricket around the world’s going to improve.”
World Cup and World Twenty20 champions Australia will be back in action after a gap of four months, but Blackwell said the side was in good nick.
“We’ve got the bowlers bowling faster than I’ve seen them before, so obviously they’re fit and strong,” she said.
Blackwell doesn’t want any more setbacks for Perry, who will play a big part in Australia’s bid to regain the Ashes in England next July.
“We’ve got a big goal ahead of us in terms of the Ashes next year, and we’d like to have that trophy alongside the two World Cups that we have,” she said.
In the meantime, the veteran batter is looking forward to the West Indies’ tour of Australia in November, which is a rematch of last year’s World Cup finallists.
“They’re a form team and a dangerous team,” she said.
“They’re dynamic in the field and I think they’re quite aggressive, particularly with the way they bat.”