Cricket nut Gelmi scores dream job

The Sunday Times - - CONFIDENTIAL - Kate Camp­bell

IN THE the same team as Bruce McA­vaney and Ricky Ponting and be­ing paid to cover a sport she loves dur­ing a his­toric sum­mer of cricket, Perth-bred sports jour­nal­ist and pre­sen­ter Abbey Gelmi read­ily ad­mits she’s in the mid­dle of a “gen­uine pinch-me mo­ment”.

In less than four years, the for­mer Sa­cred Heart stu­dent has gone from be­ing a WA Academy of Per­form­ing Arts broad­cast grad­u­ate to read­ing the news at Fox Sports in Syd­ney to cross­ing over to Seven’s team cov­er­ing the net­work’s maiden cricket sea­son.

Gelmi, be­low, says she’s more ex­cited than ner­vous about her new crick­et­ing role.

Her sum­mer will in­clude host­ing du­ties for Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League games and cov­er­ing the colour and at­mos­phere from within the in­ner sanc­tums of the Baggy Green brigade and Swami Army dur­ing the Aus­tralia and In­dia Test se­ries, which started on Thurs­day.

“If some­one had told me when I was younger that this is an op­por­tu­nity I’d be pre­sented with, I just wouldn’t have be­lieved it,” she said.

Cricket-mad Gelmi hopes a bumper sum­mer will al­low ev­ery­one to put the no­to­ri­ous ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal that en­gulfed Aus­tralian cricket this year be­hind them.

“I think fans have just been wait­ing to see what this new-look Aussie team can do,” she said.

“I think peo­ple are just ready to let the boys play. “And I think there’s been so many ram­i­fi­ca­tions and so much fall­out which — war­ranted or un­war­ranted — has dam­aged the game, at least its per­cep­tion within Aus­tralia, but now’s the time to just get be­hind what is a re­ally good group of guys who have been through a lot.” Sport is not only Gelmi’s call­ing, it’s also part of her DNA.

Her grand­fa­ther is one of Aus­tralia’s most leg­endary sport­ing fig­ures — Olympic gold medal-win­ning 1500m run­ner Herb El­liott. “For me he’s al­ways just been Grandpa . . . He talks more about AFL than he does run­ning,” said Gelmi, also a horse-rac­ing pre­sen­ter whose part­ner is Sky Rac­ing’s Ben Way. Gelmi can’t wait to ex­pe­ri­ence Op­tus Sta­dium for the first time, with the Perth Test start­ing on Fri­day.

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