Ashleigh Barty news: Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry would welcome Ash back to cricket, but ‘golf has better chance’

Ash Barty BBL

They were “surprised” by Ashleigh Barty’s decision to “buck the norm” and retire from tennis while still dominating, but Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry would be “interested in talking to her” if she “wants another crack at cricket”.

Barty became one of the few players to retire from sport when still at the top as she was world No 1 and the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion when she decided to step away in March.

There has been talk that the three-time Grand Slam winner will eventually take up another sport with golf and cricket mooted as potential future professions.

Barty, of course, played in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League in 2015–16 when she took a hiatus from tennis while she is also an avid golfer.

Ashleigh Barty gallery: The life, times, highs and lows of tennis’ shock retiree

Australia women’s cricket captain Lanning, who lead her team to World Cup glory in New Zealand over the weekend,

“I was surprised. I think we all were,” she told AAP.

“You don’t expect someone who’s going so well and dominating to call time. It’s a very brave call.”

Lanning added: “If she wants to come and have another crack at cricket (we) would certainly be interested in talking to her.

“She was pretty good at last time she played. She seems very talented at most things she does. Let’s see what happens.”

All-rounder Perry, who has also represented Australia at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, says it was “really cool” that Barty went out on her own terms and concedes that golf probably edges cricket in terms of where the former world No 1 is headed.

Just a few weeks after her retirement, Barty won a tournament in Queensland over the weekend, scooping a cheque of A$30 (about £17).

Ashleigh Barty wins ladies golf tournament in Queensland and walks away with £17 in prize money

“There’s a general expectation you’ll play for an extended period of time and go for as long as you possibly can. That’s the norm,” Perry said.

“She genuinely tends to buck the norm a little bit and do what’s best for her which is just really cool.”

She continued: “It sounds like golf is in with a better chance (than cricket),” the 31-year-old said.

“It’d be really nice for her to be able to do what she wants to do.

“There’s speculation around what sport she’s going to play next or what she’s going to do. Hopefully, she just gets to find that out for herself and do exactly what she’s got planned.”