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 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.