Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry was lavish in her praise for uncapped Annabel Sutherland, who was named in their 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup, stating that the youngster could be the 'next best thing'.
Sutherland, 18, earned her maiden call-up after putting in consistent domestic performances and starring for Australia A. She has been on the selectors' radar, also representing the U19 team.
Perry, who herself debuted when she was just 16, believes that the 18-year-old Sutherland has the potential to become the very best.
The hosts have named their squad for the @ICC Women's #T20WorldCup! 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/BKtq84Jpuo— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) January 15, 2020
"She's a wonderful athlete, she's got a great build, she bowls fast and into the wicket and is able to swing it," Perry told cricket.com.au. "She's a very, very classy batter, plays essentially around the whole ground already.
"To think that she's only had such a small amount of experience at this level, but she already looks capable and comfortable.
"Time is only going to make her better … I'm really pumped that she's getting the opportunity when she is, because I think she could be one of the best we’ve ever produced."
Perry especially lauded Sutherland's temperament, which Perry said makes the teenager unique. "She's incredibly intelligent," Perry said. "I think she's just got a great demeanour for sport, she's really competitive, but she's also not flustered … she takes things in really well, and she's certainly ambitious and motivated and willing to work hard.
She's a wonderful athlete, she's got a great build, she bowls fast and into the wicket and is able to swing it
"All those things are just the perfect combination for someone that’s going to play a lot of cricket for Australia."
Perry also compared Sutherland to Australia captain Meg Lanning, who made her debut in 2011. "Meg Lanning made a hundred in her second match and she just did it in a manner that kind of exhibited so much class and that confidence and belief in herself that not many players have … someone that actually reminds me of that now is Annabel Sutherland, in the same way that she plays with such class and confidence."
Sutherland could potentially make her international debut in the the tri-series, which begins this weekend. Australia will play their first game against England on Saturday, 1 February. The hosts then begin their World Cup campaign on 21 February against India in Sydney.