New Zealand women’s cricket team are all set to face South Africa in a three-match One Day International (ODI) series which will be followed by a five-match Twenty-20 International (T20I) series. The latter will also be the practice platform for both the teams to sharpen and exhibit their skills before the T20 World Cup takes place in February.
In the squad announced for the upcoming series, New Zealand have thrown a few surprises. Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Rachel Priest have been recalled, while batswoman Lauren Down has also earned a comeback. 21-year-old Jess Kerr has also received her maiden national call-up.
However, the biggest surprise in the squad announcement was the change in the captaincy for the White Ferns. All-rounder Sophie Davine has replaced Amy Satterthwaite for the top job, making herself the third skipper for New Zealand in the last 18 months. Suzie Bates was also given the reins of the team for a shorter period.
New captain ahead of the T20 World Cup for New Zealand
“It’s something that you sort of dream of, isn’t it? I didn’t think it would happen during my cricket career. I just want to continue to build on the fantastic work that both Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite have bought into the side and really driving the culture behind the team,” Devine was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz after becoming the captain.
Reflecting confidence ahead of the series, the new skipper said that it is an exciting time for women’s cricket in New Zealand, especially due to the recently-signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the cricket board of the country. About the squad, she said they have “a good mix of talents and experience” and she is looking forward to build the team on the good works done by her predecessors.
30-year-old Devine had an astonishing season of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) late last year with the Adelaide Strikers. With 769 runs at a strike rate of 130.33 and 19 wickets, she was deservingly named the player of the tournament.
During last year’s WBBL, she also became the first woman cricketer to take a 5-for and score half-century in the same match. She continued her form in the Super Smash with Wellington Blaze. She amassed a total of 315 runs at an average of 52.5 and a strike rate of 177.96. Her highest score in the tournament was 112.
New Zealand Squad: Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Rachel Priest (wk), Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson
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