New Zealand Cricket on Thursday announced their squad for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, leaving out off-spinner Leigh Kasperek, White Ferns’ leading ODI wicket-taker since the 2017 edition of the event.
The selectors instead opted for Fran Jonas, a 17-year-old left-arm spinner who has played two ODIS thus far, in the 15-member squad that will carry New Zealand’s hopes in the home World Cup to be held from March 4-April 3 this year.
Sophie Devine will lead a squad with an experienced core and a sprinkling of youthful exuberance, New Zealand Cricket announced on Thursday.
Amy Satterthwaite will be Devine’s deputy; that pair along with Suzie Bates making their fourth appearance at an ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. Wicket-keeper Katey Martin and experienced quick Lea Tahuhu are set to feature in their third World Cup and have over 150 ODI appearances between them, NZC informed in a release on Thursday.
The squad features three frontline spin options with Melie Kerr and Frankie Mackay joined by young Auckland Hearts left-arm spinner, Fran Jonas, who wasn’t born the last time the World Cup was held in New Zealand in 2000.
Hannah Rowe, Rosemary Mair and Jess Kerr round out the seam bowling options for the White Ferns with Rowe making her second appearance at the 50-over showpiece.
New Zealand Women head coach, Bob Carter, said it was a difficult squad to pick and those selected should be immensely proud.
“I would like to congratulate the 15 players selected to represent the WHITE FERNS at the World Cup here i” New Zealand,” Carter was quoted as saying by NZC in its statement.
“It doesn’t get much better than competing at a World Cup in your home country and I know the entire team and support staff are really excited by the prospect.
“We feel we have a balanced squad providing multiple options with bat and ball to cover the rang’ of conditions we’re likely to face around the country,” he said.
“Naturally, there were some tough decisions and no doubt some disappointed players but as a selection group, we felt this mix would give us the best chance.
“There’s a strong mix of youth and experience in this squad with several players having multiple World Cups under their belt.
“We also have a younger group coming through, six of which are yet to experience Wo’ld Cup cricket – and it’s naturally a very exciting time for those players.”
Carter noted there’s been a buzz around the group for a while and said both the players and support staff were excited and keen to get underway on March 4.
“It’s been a pleasure working with this group for an’extended period of time. We’ve had this pinnacle event on our radar for a while and I know the whole squad has put in a lot of work to get to this point.”
“We feel we have the best 15 players in the country and are ready for the challenge ahead,” the coach said.
New Zealand Women start their World Cup campaign in the eight-team Group Stage against West Indies at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, on March 4.
The squad: Sophie Devine (capt), Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu.