Dunedin, Nov 30 (IANS): Dunedin’s University of Otago Oval will temporarily hand its naming rights over to their former student Suzie Bates next week as New Zealand women open their international home summer against Pakistan.
‘Suzie Bates Oval’ will play host to the second game T20I series to honour the veteran all-rounder, who became just the third woman in the world to play 300 Internationals on New Zealand’s recent tour of South Africa. Suzie’s family, friends, teammates, and coaches will be present in Dunedin to mark the occasion.
Suzie, 36, was included in a familiar looking New Zealand women’s squad for the three-game T20I and three-game ODI series against Pakistan which will be played entirely in the South Island.
“The start of the international home summer is always an exciting time and I know our players are really motivated to play in front of our fans. We’ll be playing at ‘Suzie Bates Oval’ in game two and that will be a really special occasion and an awesome acknowledgement of Suzie’s milestone and career,” said head coach Ben Sawyer.
Captain Sophie Devine leads the side fresh off a successful WBBL campaign in which she was the second-highest run-scorer for the Perth Scorchers amassing 489 runs. Amelia Kerr will miss the opening T20I against Pakistan on Sunday as she participates in Saturday’s WBBL Final for the Brisbane Heat.
“There was always a chance we may lose a player to the WBBL Grand Final but we’re comfortable with the depth of our squad and the opportunity it creates for other players to step up,” added Sawyer.
The remainder of the squad all toured South Africa in September-October and have been playing in the first four rounds of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield, including Maddy Green, who sits third on the competition’s top-run scoring charts.
Batter Kate Anderson has retained her place in the squad following her T20I debut against South Africa last month. Wicketkeeper-batter Bernadine Bezuidenhout returns to the squad after falling ill on the recent tour of South Africa.
Nineteen year-olds Georgia Plimmer and Izzy Gaze have received an early look at the opposition at Bert Sutcliffe Oval this week as part of the New Zealand XI side featuring in the warm-ups.
Izzy, who was originally named in the ODI squad only, will also feature in the T20I squad for the opening game as cover for Amelia. Brooke Halliday was not considered for selection due to a foot injury, and Hayley Jensen continues her recovery following knee surgery earlier in the year.
“We’re looking to build on the back of some good recent form in bilateral series but more importantly, continue to develop combinations with an eye to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh next year.”
“From an ODI perspective, as well as continuing to develop our game plan, it’s extremely important that we look to get as many World Championship points as we can. Pakistan are match-ready having just come off an away series against Bangladesh.”
“They have a strong spin attack, and a dangerous top order that puts a high value on their wicket, making them difficult to bowl to,” stated Sawyer.
Sawyer leads a coaching group made up of regular batting coach Dean Brownlie and regular spin coach Craig Howard, with assistance from NZC High Performance coaches Bob Carter (T20I series) and Sara McGlashan (ODI series).
The squad will assemble in Dunedin on November 30 ahead of the first T20I on Sunday at University of Otago Oval. Following the first two T20Is in Dunedin on December 3 and 5, the tour moves to Sir John Davies Oval in Queenstown for third T20I and first ODI on December 9 and 12, before finishing with two ODIs on December 15 and 18 at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
New Zealand squad: Sophie Devine (c), Kate Anderson, Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Eden Carson (T20I only), Izzy Gaze (ODI & 1st T20I), Maddy Green, Fran Jonas, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe and Lea Tahuhu