You can tell that Ellyse Perry loves her job as a professional cricketer. She's only 27 but has already been doing this for a decade, debuting as a not-yet-17-year old in 2007. Nothing of the grind, though, appears to have worn her down. An easy smile greets every question and Perry, the world's pre-eminent allrounder, is relishing this era of televised games, packed stadiums, decent wages and the respect her peers get as professional sportspersons.
"We've spoken about how it almost feels like a second career at the moment," she tells ESPNcricinfo in Mumbai, ahead of the T20 Tri-Series also involving England and India. "We are very fortunate to have the support of Cricket Australia back home who have made our roles full-time and we are all full-time professional cricketers now who get to train every day and work really hard at our craft.
"The quality of cricket being played now around Australia and around the world has just grown really rapidly and it's just an exciting game to watch and people are really drawn to that. As a result, we are getting lots of crowds and people wanting to watch the matches on TV and a lot of interest from the media. From that point of view, it has been absolutely brilliant.
"I think it was growing really solidly for the 10 years that I have been involved and before that as well, but for whatever reason things have just come into alignment in the last couple of years and there's been a huge shift and growth in the sport. I think in a large part the ICC have done a lot to make sure that the game is built on really solid foundations but also that we've got a lot more to build on and grow which is exciting for the future."
Much of the impetus for women's cricket came from the World Cup in England last year. In an unforgettable semi-final, Perry's Australian team was demolished by India on the back of an astonishing assault from Harmanpreet Kaur. Though Perry politely sidesteps the question when asked if revenge was on their minds as they landed in India for a three-match ODI series earlier in the month, they certainly have played like a team possessed. The games in Baroda were won by eight wickets, 60 runs and 97 runs. Perry herself, as she usually does, made an impression with both bat and ball, making 127 runs and picking up four wickets with her lively medium-pace.
"Certainly, in terms of the process and development of our team it has been a really important series for us and particularly in the manner that we've played, not just the result," she says. "The performances across the board from so many different individuals in each match was just brilliant and really satisfying for us because it's never easy to come to India and playing in Indian conditions so to do what we've done has been really great.
"It has been amazing, looking at the amount of people that came to our matches in Baroda, the support that they were displaying for the Indian team was just brilliant. It was one of the best atmospheres I have played in front of and consistently across those three games. The Indian team are very, very good, they've got some exceptional players who are world class. Some senior players and also some really great youth that are up and coming and are going to be wonderful cricketers for a long period of time."
Over the next ten days, Perry and her teammates will lock horns against England and India in a tri-series of T20 matches in Mumbai. Perry believes that with the World T20 later in the year in the West Indies, the series, which she says features "arguably the three best teams in the world at the moment", provides the opportunity for invaluable match practice and to identify personnel and tactics for the tournament.
While the focus is on the limited-overs formats for now, Perry, who has played only seven Tests over her career, would like to see more long-format games played. She suggests more teams could adopt the formula used for the Women's Ashes where the series is decided based on points accumulated across Test, ODI and T20 games. However, for now, Perry's focus is on ensuring she can help Australia capture a fourth World T20 title in November. And, of course, build on the momentum the women's game has gained in recent times.
"I think the World Cup last year where the final was sold out was just tremendous and it has really set a very high standard for future tournaments," she says. "Since that we have obviously seen the reception of the Indian team here and how much support they've now got and interest in how the girls play. Back home we had a very successful Ashes series, it drew lots of crowds and people to that event which was absolutely brilliant.
"Going forward, I hope that occurs everywhere around the world, wherever we are playing, so it's a great opportunity for the West Indies and everyone is really looking forward to this competition. From my point of view, every T20 World Cup we have played since it started, each one has got bigger and better. I think the quality of play has gone to a new level as well. So, I think it is really exciting."