Saturday, May 18, 2024

Leigh Kasperek replaces injured Jess Kerr in White Ferns squad for Sri Lanka tour

Fast bowler Jess Kerr has been ruled out of the White Ferns’ upcoming tour to Sri Lanka with a broken toe and will be replaced by off-spinner Leigh Kasperek, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said on Monday.

Kerr was struck on the toe while batting at training early last week and the subsequent scan revealed a fracture that will require up to six weeks rehabilitation.

Head coach Ben Sawyer is confident Kerr will make a good recovery, though laments the poor timing for the fast bowler.

“Picking up an injury so close to departure for a tour is always disappointing. Jess is a key part of our bowling group in both formats and will be missed on what will be a challenging tour,” said Sawyer in a NZC media release.

“Jess has been working really hard over the winter and we were excited to see how she would perform in new conditions for her, but we’re confident she will be back fit and ready for our next challenge after Sri Lanka,” he added.

Kasperek rejoins the White Ferns squad for the first time since the tour to England in 2021. The Wellington Blaze offspinner has made 39 ODIs and 46 T20I appearances for the White Ferns, taking 140 wickets and is their second all-time leading T20I wicket-taker.

Kasperek was prolific with the ball for the Blaze last summer, finishing as second leading wicket-taker in both the Super Smash and Hallyburton Johnstone Shield and was awarded the Wellington Blaze Player of the Season.

Sawyer said Kasperek’s recall showed the strength in depth in the WHITE FERNS spin bowling stocks.

“Leigh has had a challenging 18 months since the World Cup but has always been a player that has been on our radar. She’s been kept out of the side given the form of Fran (Jonas) and Eden (Carson) who’ve been performing consistently well and those spin positions have probably been the most hotly contested in our team,” the head coach said.

“With Leigh, Fran, Eden and Melie (Kerr) we have strong depth in our spin bowling stocks, and ultimately that’s the level of depth we want to get to in all positions. Leigh brings a wealth of international experience to the group and I’m sure she will thrive in the Sri Lankan conditions if given an opportunity,” said Sawyer.

Kasperek is currently in Scotland and will join up with the White Ferns squad when they arrive in Sri Lanka. They are currently gathered at a final training camp at NZC’s High Performance Centre in Lincoln and depart for Sri Lanka on Thursday.

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