Thursday, April 18, 2024

NZC: Mair, Halliday return for England | Kasperek included for T20Is

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket

Rosemary Mair and Brooke Halliday will return to the WHITE FERNS squad for the upcoming Life Direct T20I and Dulux ODI series against England.

The pair are included in a wider 15-strong squad to face England in five T20Is and three ODIs starting at University of Otago Oval in Dunedin on March 19.

Mair is recalled to the squad for the first time since last year’s tour to Sri Lanka, following a memorable Dream11 Super Smash campaign for the Central Hinds.

The pace bowler finished as the third leading wicket-taker in the competition with 14 wickets, helping the Hinds reach their first T20 Grand Final since 2010, where she claimed career-best figures of 4-5 against the Wellington Blaze at Eden Park.

Halliday returns to the WHITE FERNS squad after recovering from a foot injury which saw her miss the T20I and ODI series against Pakistan at the start of the summer.

The Auckland Hearts allrounder returned to play midway through the Dream11 Super Smash competition and impressed more recently on her Auckland Hallyburton Johnstone Shield debut, scoring her third List-A century (108), against the Canterbury Magicians in Christchurch.

WHITE FERNS head coach Ben Sawyer said he had been impressed by Mair’s performances for the Hinds.

“Rosemary’s had a great domestic season,” said Sawyer.

“She’s been an integral part of the Central Hinds side this summer and has stepped up with her leadership and extra pace, which has been pleasing.

“We identified key areas of her game to work on post the tour of Sri Lanka and we’ve been impressed with the way Rosemary has gone away and worked hard on implementing these into her game.

“The results speak for themselves and Rosemary’s performance in the Super Smash Grand Final showed us that she’s ready for another opportunity.

“We’re looking forward to having Brooke back in the group after a period out of the team with a foot injury.

“She’s an important member of our middle order and, like Rosemary, has shown some strong performances in the domestic season since returning for the Hearts.”

Leigh Kasperek’s domestic performances for the Wellington Blaze have been rewarded with her first call-up since last year’s tour to Sri Lanka.

Kasperek was the second overall leading wicket-taker across both domestic competitions this summer, the Blaze spinner taking 17 and 18 wickets in the T20 and 50-over competitions respectively, helping Wellington claim the Super Smash title and finish runners up in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield.

A 15-strong squad has been selected across both series, with Georgia Plimmer selected for the ODI series only, while Eden Carson (T20Is 1, 2 & 3) and Kasperek (T20Is 4 & 5) will share the spin bowling loads for the T20I series – while also featuring for New Zealand A in the corresponding T20 and 50-over series against England A.

“Leigh has been really impressive with her performances and leadership for the Wellington Blaze this summer,” said Sawyer.

“She’s been consistent across both the T20 and 50-over campaigns for Wellington and she continues to be part of our planning for the ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

“She’ll bring a wealth of experience to the group for the T20 internationals and will add strong leadership in the New Zealand A group.

Hayley Jensen, who returned for the Otago Sparks midway through the Super Smash following knee surgery last year, will also feature for New Zealand A as she continues her return to international cricket.

WHITE FERNS squad v England

Sophie Devine (c) (Wellington Blaze)

Suzie Bates (Otago Sparks)

Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk) (Northern Brave)

Eden Carson (Otago Sparks) (T20Is 1, 2 & 3 only)

Izzy Gaze (wk) (Auckland Hearts)

Maddy Green (Auckland Hearts)

Brooke Halliday (Auckland Hearts)

Fran Jonas (Auckland Hearts)

Leigh Kasperek (Wellington Blaze) (T20Is 4 & 5 only)

Melie Kerr (Wellington Blaze)

Jess Kerr (Wellington Blaze)

Rosemary Mair (Central Hinds)

Georgia Plimmer (Wellington Blaze) (ODIs only)

Hannah Rowe (Central Hinds)

Lea Tahuhu (Canterbury Magicians)

Three standby players will be named closer to the series, as cover for the 1st KFC T20I in case Melie Kerr (Mumbai Indians), Sophie Devine (Royal Challengers Bangalore), or Lea Tahuhu (Gujarat Giants) are unavailable due to WPL finals commitments, which coincide with the series opener in Dunedin.

The series is the first time the WHITE FERNS have faced England since claiming victory in the bronze medal match at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and the first time England have visited New Zealand since 2021.

NZC Head of Women’s High Performance Liz Green said the England tour marked the start of a busy period of international cricket.

“This is an exciting series and an opportunity for our best female players to test themselves against one of the best sides in the world,” said Green.

“Our players are playing more cricket than ever before at international level, with five tours and a T20 World Cup on the horizon.

“A five-match T20I series against England provides good preparation for the World Cup later this year and will be a good measure of where we’re at leading into the final stages of preparation.

“We’ve wanted our best players to go away and dominate domestic cricket, and we’ve started to see that, which means we can reward players who’ve shown improvement.

Green said the England series and the corresponding series between New Zealand A and England A would showcase an extended pathway for women’s cricket in New Zealand.

“The A series allows for more players to aspire for higher honours outside of the WHITE FERNS and creates real competition for spots in all squads.

“it’s another addition to the pathway and we’re looking forward to seeing our developing players test themselves against a strong England A team.”

The WHITE FERNS T20I squad assembles in Queenstown on March 8 for two warm-up matches against England A, ahead of the 1st T20I against England at University of Otago Oval on March 19.

The New Zealand A Women’s squad to face England A will be named tomorrow.

WHITE FERNS v England series overview

T20 warm-up 1 – Sunday 10 March, 11:00am – Sir John Davies Oval, Queenstown

T20 Warm-up 2 – Tuesday 12 March, 10:00am – Sir John Davies Oval, Queenstown


1st Life Direct T20I – Tuesday 19 March, 1:00pm – University of Otago Oval, Dunedin

2nd Life Direct T20I – Friday 22 March, 1:00pm – Saxton Oval, Nelson

3rd Life Direct T20I – Sunday 24 March, 1:00pm – Saxton Oval, Nelson

4th Life Direct T20I – Wednesday 27 March, 1:00pm – Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington

5th Life Direct T20I – Friday 29 March, 1:00pm – Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington

1st Dulux ODI – Monday 1 April, 11:00am – Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington

2nd Dulux ODI – Thursday 4 April, 11:00am – Seddon Park, Hamilton

3rd Dulux ODI – Sunday 7 April, 11:00am – Seddon Park, Hamilton

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