Sophie Devine quells retirement talks; happy with newcomers’ showing in CWG opener

New Zealand women’s cricket team skipper Sophie Devine is happy with the way the newcomers in the side have come up following a spate of retirements after the unforgettable ICC 50-over World Cup campaign at home recently.

On Saturday, the White Ferns defeated South Africa Women by 13 runs in a group match at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with the skipper missing a half-century by two runs and veteran batter Suzie Bates scoring an unbeaten 91 in the team’s total of 167/2 in 20 overs.

The bowlers, led by Devine’s 3/37, restricted the Proteas to 154/7 for a narrow win. Devine became the first New Zealand bowler to claim 100 wickets in the T20I format.

The 32-year-old White Ferns all-rounder also quelled rumours about her retirement, saying she has no immediate plans to hang up her boots.

“I think the way that they’ve come (newcomers) into the group, they fit in so well. I think it’s credit to the environment that we’ve created within the White Ferns that players like that can come in doesn’t matter if they’re young or old and they can feel comfortable and can perform well,” Devine was quoted as saying by ICC.

Quipped about her future plans after New Zealand’s win, Devine said, “Are you telling me I should retire? I’m just joking. I wanted to get to the home World Cup earlier this year, and I was going to reassess (after), but I certainly have got a lot of fire in the belly still.”

The New Zealand women’s team is currently in a transition phase, with Amy Satterthwaite announcing her international retirement and Lea Tahuhu also missing out on the Commonwealth Games squad.

The White Ferns are trying to blood some youngsters and Devine believes that she has a massive role to play in order to develop these players. New Zealand handed a debut to three less experienced players against South Africa — wicketkeeper Izzy Gale, off-spinner Eden Carson and left-arm spinner Fran Jonas.

Devine also praised young Amelia Kerr, stating that the 21-year-old inspires her to become a better player. Kerr scored 20 and backed it up with fine bowling that fetched her a wicket in the team’s victory against the Proteas.

“She (Amelia Kerr) inspires me to be a better player. She’s world-class, and it’s just so great having someone as good as her around the group. She’s a big dreamer and talks about at training how we’re going to be on the podium together,” Devine added.

After their win against South Africa, New Zealand will next play Sri Lanka at Edgbaston on August 2.

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