New Zealand coach Haidee Tiffen hopes her biggest stars will carry their strong Rebel Women’s Big Bash League form into next month’s T20 and one-day international matches against the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars.
The White Ferns will meet Australia in three T20Is – all double headers with the men’s KFC T20 INTLs between Australia and Sri Lanka – before a return ODI series across the Tasman that will follow immediately after.
With Sophie Devine, Amy Satterthwaite and Rachel Priest particularly impressive for their respective clubs in WBBL|02, and captain Suzie Bates set to lead the Perth Scorchers in Saturday’s WBBL final, Tiffen is confident of putting in a strong showing against the world No.1 Australians.
Hurricanes star Satterthwaite claimed the only hat-trick of WBBL|02, while Devine blasted the fastest WBBL century for the Strikers on Boxing Day, and quick Lea Tahuhu produced arguably the ball of the tournament when she bowled world No.1 batter Meg Lanning playing for the Renegades.
Tiffen is well aware of how her charges – and their upcoming opposition – have been faring in WBBL|02, having been glued to cricket.com.au’s WBBL live streams for the last seven weeks.
“We have seen some very special performances — from Amy Satterthwaite’s hat-trick to Sophie Devine’s fastest century, and it’s been an added bonus for us having two White Ferns in Suzie Bates and Rachel Priest captaining WBBL teams in high-intensity T20 cricket,” Tiffen said.
"I’ve watched every single delivery of the WBBL and it’s been a timely insight.
"It has provided a litmus test for a number of our players against Australia’s top cricketers whom we will be facing very soon in both the T20 and one-day international formats.”
The White Ferns on Thursday revealed their 13-player T20 and 14-player ODI squads to meet Australia, with off-spinner Morna Nielsen, who struggled to have the same impact for the Melbourne Stars that she managed in WBBL|01, one of three omissions alongside pace bowler Hannah Rowe and batter Samantha Curtis.
“Good players have missed out,” Tiffen said.
“The competition for spots in our world class side is now more intense than ever.
“We have improved depth, so we have hard choices to make — and that is exactly the situation we want to be in building up to the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.”
Off-spinner Leigh Kasperek returns having recovered from the broken spinning finger that kept her out of series against South Africa and Pakistan late last year, while 16-year-old leg-spinner Amelia Kerr has been named in the ODI squad after an impressive international debut against Pakistan in November.
Australia will meet New Zealand in Melbourne (Feb 17), Geelong (Feb 19) and Adelaide (Feb 22) before the teams head across the Tasman for ODIs in Auckland (Feb 26) and Mt Maunganui (March 2 and 5).
The Southern Stars are expected to name their squads next week, following the WBBL|02 final.
NZ T20 and ODI squads: Suzie Bates (captain), Erin Bermingham, Sophie Devine, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr (ODIs only), Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Katie Perkins, Liz Perry, Rachel Priest, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu.