Ellyse Perry won the inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the International Cricket Council’s Women’s Cricketer of the Year on Thursday (December 21) after a fantastic season that established her as the premier all-round force in the women’s game.
Perry, 27, scored an unbeaten 213 and picked up three wickets in the one-off Ashes Test in Sydney in early November and had a total of 905 runs and 22 wickets in 19 One-Day Internationals in the voting period (September 21, 2016 to December 31, 2017). She was a key member of the Australian side that topped the ICC Women’s Championship table in November last year and the team that made the semifinals of the 2017 Women’s World Cup.
Women’s ODI Team of the Year
Tammy Beaumont (England), Meg Lanning (Australia), Mithali Raj (India), Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand), Ellyse Perry (Australia), Heather Knight (England, capt), Sarah Taylor (England, wk), Dane van Niekerk (South Africa), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Ekta Bisht (India), Alex Hartley (England).
Women’s T20I Team of the Year
Beth Mooney (Australia, wk), Danni Wyatt (England), Harmanpreet Kaur (India), Stafanie Taylor (Windies, capt), Sophie Devine (New Zealand), Deandra Dottin (Windies), Hayley Matthews (Windies), Megan Schutt (Australia), Amanda-Jade Wellington (Australia), Lea Tahuhu (New Zealand), Ekta Bisht (India).
The 15-member voting panel, which included Anjum Chopra and Snehal Pradhan, the former India Women cricketers, had Amy Satterthwaite, the New Zealand batter, and Harmanpreet Kaur, the India vice-captain, at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.
Speaking to the ICC website, Perry said, “2017 has been a very special year for women’s cricket with many milestones reached, so it is a privilege and honour to receive the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award. I’d like to acknowledge the incredible work and legacy Rachael has left behind for the game, she is certainly missed.
“A special thanks to Cricket Australia for the incredible amount of support they provide to the Australian women’s cricket team and the way in which they continue to lead the development of women’s sport in Australia. Also, my team-mates and our support staff, thanks so much for making it so enjoyable and memorable to tour and represent Australia. And finally, to my family and friends for their continued and unwavering support, it is truly appreciated.”
Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, was lavish in his praise for Perry, saying. “Ellyse has been outstanding during the voting period. She is a worthy winner and an inspiration and a role model for millions of young and emerging players and I’m sure Ellyse will be honoured to be the first recipient of the award.”
The other big winners were Beth Mooney, the Australia opening batter, and Satterthwaite. While Satterthwaite won the ODI Player of the Year award, Mooney won both the Twenty20 International Player of the Year and the Emerging Player of the Year awards.
Satterthwaite had an incredible run late during the Women’s Championship when she scored three centuries in a row in the ODIs against Pakistan in November 2016 and then a century in the first ODI against Australia in February 2017. She amassed 1183 runs in 24 ODIs during the voting period at an average of 84.5.
“It is a pretty special moment and I guess, probably one of the moments to look back and reflect on the year and what it has been,” said Satterthwaite, who became the second New Zealander to win the award in as many years after the honour went to Suzie Bates in 2016. “The first six months were a lot of cricket and I really enjoyed myself in the middle. Everyone talks about the four hundreds, that is something that you need situations to go in your favour to hit something like this.
“It was pretty special at the same time, but I have enjoyed playing my cricket in the last 12 months and really enjoyed my time with the team. I think we have a good team which is gelling together and hitting nice momentum.”
Mooney, meanwhile, was the leading T20I scorer with 255 runs at a strike-rate of 138.5 in seven matches in the voting period, while she also scored 492 runs in 14 ODIs. Calling the honour “unexpected”, Mooney said, “I play cricket to contribute to the team’s success and not for personal accolades, but equally it is nice to be rewarded for all the work of the years.”
India’s Ekta Bisht, the left-arm spinner, was the only player in both the ODI and T20I Team of the Year, with 34 wickets in 19 matches and 11 wickets in seven T20Is. Mithali Raj in the ODI team and Harmanpreet Kaur in the T20I team were the other Indians among the year-end honours.