Sydney Sixers coach Ben Sawyer believes Ellyse Perry's shift down Australia's T20I order will drive her batting to new heights both at international level and in the Rebel WBBL.
Perry has batted everywhere from opener to No.9 during her 100-game T20I career in the green and gold, with the allrounder climbing steadily up the order throughout the years as her batting prowess grew, making the transformation to allrounder after debuting for Australia as a 16-year-old fast bowler.
But she sat at No.7 in Australia's new-look 20-over batting order at the recently concluded World T20 in the West Indies, the result of a review after disappointments at the 2016 World T20 and 2017 50-over World Cup which led to a batting shake up.
Beth Mooney, Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner and Elyse Villani, who boast the highest strike rates in the Australian XI, were promoted to the top to make use of rules that permit just two players outside the fielding circle during the power play, with the likes of Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes and Perry to back them up in the middle order.
Perry's career strike rate in T20Is is currently 104.73 but Sawyer – who was an assistant coach with Australia's victorious World T20 squad – can already see a shift in the way the 28-year-old is approaching her batting in the shortest form of the game.
And Perry showed exciting signs when she top-scored for Australia in their 48-run group match loss to India on Saturday, striking an unbeaten 39 from 28 deliveries.
Sawyer said he had no doubt Perry's demotion could drive her power game to new heights.
"She's a very competitive person and everyone in this team wants to bat higher and bowl more overs," he said.
"So I think that's definitely pushing her. It's a great position to be in and I think that challenge has pushed her a little bit, so it's been good.
"I've noticed even in my short time here with the (Australian) team her strike rate from last year has gone up, so I think that challenge of having to go down the order a little bit has pushed her a bit.
"Hopefully it also (comes across) in the Big Bash as well."
Sixers captain Perry and coach Sawyer will be aiming to lead the Sixers squad to a third consecutive WBBL title.
At their disposal will be in-form Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, who was the World T20's leading run scorer and player of the tournament.
They'll also have big-hitting Australia allrounder Ashleigh Gardner at their disposal, alongside star South Africa pair Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp.
The Australian squad members – including Perry, Sawyer, Healy and Gardner – are en route to Melbourne where they will be feted on Thursday at a celebration of their World T20 win in Federation Square – before the WBBL Big Weekend, a two-day, four-game festival featuring all eight teams to be played at Junction Oval on December 1 and 2.