NZC: Kasperek to lead young NZ XI squad against Pakistan

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket

Wellington Blaze off-spinner Leigh Kasperek will lead a 13-strong New Zealand XI squad in two warm-up matches against Pakistan next week.

The 87-cap WHITE FERN, who most recently featured on the tour of Sri Lanka in July, heads up a squad featuring four players with senior international experience, and a host of others who represented New Zealand at the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.

Contracted WHITE FERNS Izzy Gaze, Rosemary Mair and Georgia Plimmer add 80 caps of international experience to the side and Auckland HEARTS batter Bella Armstrong also features, following her international T20 debut against South Africa last month.

Gabby Sullivan’s strong 2022-23 domestic form for the Canterbury Magicians is rewarded.

The 25-year-old seamer picked up 42 wickets across the season and was awarded the Phyl Blackler Cup for Women’s Domestic Bowling at the 2023 ANZ New Zealand Cricket Awards.

Northern Brave’s twice-named Female Player of the Year Nensi Patel and Central Hinds’ Flora Devonshire will add depth to the spin stocks, as will Ocean Bartlett who captained the New Zealand Development XI on last year’s tour to India.

The remainder of the squad is made up of young domestic talent on the rise, including Northern Districts pace bowler Kayley Knight, Canterbury top-order batter Abby Gerken and Otago top-order batters Olivia Gain and Bella James.

NZC High Performance coach and former WHITE FERN Sara McGlashan will coach the side having led both the New Zealand Development squad’s tour to India and the New Zealand Under 19 Women’s World Cup campaigns.

McGlashan said the squad had been selected with an eye to continuing the progression of New Zealand’s best young female players.

“These matches are a really important step in our pathway and give us a unique opportunity to involve players who are on the radar from a long-term succession point of view”, said McGlashan.

McGlashan also highlighted the importance of rewarding strong domestic performers with the opportunities to test themselves at the next level.

“Off the back of both the New Zealand Development tour and the ICC U19 World Cup a lot of those players went on to make their domestic debuts and performed really well.

“So it’s pleasing from a coaching point of view to be able to reward those performances and see these players given more chances to challenge themselves and shine again.”

New Zealand XI squad

Leigh Kasperek (c) (Wellington)
Bella Armstrong (Auckland)
Ocean Bartlett 
(Central Districts)
Flora Devonshire (
Central Districts)
Olivia Gain 
(Otago)
Izzy Gaze 
(Auckland)
Abby Gerken 
(Canterbury)
Bella James 
(Otago)
Kayley Knight 
(Northern Districts)
Rosemary Mair 
(Central Districts)
Nensi Patel 
(Northern Districts)
Georgia Plimmer 
(Wellington)
Gabby Sullivan 
(Canterbury)

The warm-up matches comprise one 50-over and one T20 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval on November 28 and 30 respectively.

Both matches will be live streamed on NZC YouTube, with live scoring available at nzc.nz and the NZC App.

The New Zealand home summer of cricket gets underway with the WHITE FERNS T20I series against Pakistan, starting on December 3 at the University of Otago Oval in Dunedin.

All matches will be broadcast live and free-to-air on TVNZ and SENZ.

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