They’re used to running out on the same team, but four WHITE FERNS’ stars are about to face-off against each other on one of the world’s biggest stages.
Amelia Kerr, Lea Tahuhu, Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates have all been selected to play in the Women’s T20 Cricket Challenge, which will be staged in India alongside the men’s IPL finals in May.
The quartet are among twelve overseas stars selected in the three-team competition, with players from England, West Indies, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also included.
Suzie Bates, who will represent the Trailblazers, said she was looking forward to testing herself against the world’s best, as well as some familiar faces.
“I’m really excited to have been given the opportunity to head to India and play with some of the best players in the world.
“It’s great to see they’re further developing the competition and I hope it will continue to grow even bigger in years to come.
“It’s going to be fun to have fellow teammates there while trying get a couple of wins and some bragging rights.”
Bates, Devine and Tahuhu were all involved in a similar one-off exhibition match last year and the introduction of a third team in this year’s competition represents potential growth towards a fully-fledged women’s IPL competition, a prospect that excites competition newcomer Kerr.
“I think this could be the start of something very exciting for women’s cricket,” she said.
“Hopefully from this there will be a women’s IPL in the future with many teams and the best players from around the world competing in it.”
The competition will be the first taste of Indian conditions for the 18-year-old, who is relishing the opportunity after being selected in the Velocity team.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside some of the world’s best players and getting over to India and testing myself in their conditions,” she said.
Fast bowler Lea Tahuhu, who is joined in the Supernovas team by Sophie Devine, said the competition was another step in the right direction for the women’s game.
“The experience of the one-off game last year gave an insight into what a great competition a women’s IPL would be and the positive impact it would have on the continual development of the women’s game,” said Tahuhu.
“Playing alongside some of the best players in the world over the next few weeks is something I’m really looking forward to.”
Devine, who lit up last summer’s Women’s Big Bash League competition, said she was looking forward to flying the New Zealand flag in India.
“It’s humbling to be given the opportunity to go over and play in India, and special to be able to represent Wellington and New Zealand.
“It’s great for the women’s game globally that the BCCI are looking at running an event similar to the IPL and it will hopefully further showcase the women’s game.”
Bates was the star of last year’s match with a player-of-the-match performance that helped the Supernovas to a three-wicket victory over the Trailblazers.
The 2019 edition gets underway on May 6th and ends with a final on May 11th.
Women’s T20 Cricket Challenge Squads:
SUPERNOVAS: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Anuja Patil, Arundhati Reddy, Chamari Athapaththu, Jemimah Rodrigues, Lea Tahuhu, Mansi Joshi, Natalie Sciver, Poonam Yadav, Priya Punia, Radha P Yadav, Sophie Devine, Taniya Bhatia, W V Raman (Coach)
TRAILBLAZERS: Smriti Mandhana (c), Bharti Fulmali, Dayalan Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Harleen Deol, Jasia Akhtar, Jhulan Goswami, R Kalpana, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shakera Selman, Sophie Ecclestone, Stefanie Taylor, Suzie Bates, Biju George (Coach)
VELOCITY: Mithali Raj (c), Amelia Kerr, Danielle Wyatt, Devika Vaidya, Ekta Bisht, Hayley Matthews, Jahanara Alam, Komal Zhanzad, Shafali Verma, Shikha Pandey, Sushma Verma, Sushree Dibyadarshini, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mamta Maben (Coach)
6th May – Supernovas vs Trailblazers
8th May – Trailblazers vs Velocity
9th May – Supernovas vs Velocity
11th May – Final (1st vs 2nd place)
*All matches will be played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.