White Ferns mix fresh faces with experience for Comm Games

White Ferns players Jess Kerr and Amelie Kerr after winning the 2nd ODI against India.

A mixture of experience and fresh faces has been named in the White Ferns' 15-strong squad for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced the squad on Wednesday ahead of women's cricket making its Commonwealth Games debut later this year after men's cricket featured in 1998.

Among those named, Otago off-spinner Eden Carson and Auckland wicketkeeper Izzy Gaze have earned their first call-ups. Uncapped White Ferns Georgia Plimmer and Jess McFadyen were also selected.

Bringing a vast amount of experience to the squad will be the likes of captain Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates, Melie Kerr and Maddy Green.

The 15-strong touring party is made up of two wicketkeepers in McFadyen and Gaze; three spinners in Melie Kerr, Carson, and Jonas, a pace bowling quartet of Hannah Rowe, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair and Hayley Jensen. Bates, Devine, Green, Lauren Down and Brooke Halliday round out the squad.

Devine said the squad can't wait to get on the plane.

"To be the first women’s cricket team to represent the country at a global event like the Commonwealth Games is truly an honour," Devine said.

“It’s been great to get the group back together this week at Bay Oval and our new squad members are finding their feet and fitting in well."

Bates will head to Birmingham with some similar experience of competing on such a large stage, having previously represented New Zealand in basketball at the Beijing Olympics.

Suzie Bates drives to the basket against Spain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

She said the 2008 campaign was special but also unusual as she was effectively in a team within a team.

“Being part of a wider New Zealand team makes you even more proud to wear the silver fern,” said Bates.

"You feel like you’re part of something big. To be in the same team as New Zealand’s top athletes from all the different sports is something really special."

Bates added there were also unique traditions that were part of any Commonwealth Games campaign to look forward to as well.

"There’s the opening ceremony, the flag bearer selection, and the communal dining halls, these all combine to make the Games experience something really memorable and I’m encouraging everyone to soak it all up when we get over there."

The naming comes after NZC earlier this week confirmed they had appointed Ben Sawyer as the new coach of the White Ferns after their disappointing Cricket World Cup campaign on home soil earlier this year in which they failed to reach the semi-finals.

The naming takes the total number of athletes currently selected to the New Zealand Team for Birmingham 2022 to 95.

New Zealand Women’s Cricket Team: Suzie Bates, Eden Carson, Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Izzy Gaze, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Melie Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Jess McFadyen, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe.


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