Canterbury Magicians batter Kate Anderson and Auckland HEARTS all-rounder Bella Armstrong have earned their maiden call-ups to the WHITE FERNS for the upcoming tour of South Africa this month, just two years after receiving NZC Development contracts.
In a step-change for the team, two separate 15-player squads have been selected for a tour that comprises three ODIs and five T20Is, starting September 24.
Anderson’s selection follows her most successful professional season, which saw her named NZC’s Women’s Domestic Player of The Year and put her in line to tour Sri Lanka with the WHITE FERNS in July, before she was ruled out with a finger injury.
The 27-year-old smashed a chart-topping 536 runs at an average of 59 in the Dream11 Super Smash, her run aggregate more than 100 clear of the next best female or male.
The 23-year-old Armstrong has been included for the T20I series only and will replace wicket-keeper Izzy Gaze, who will return home after the ODIs.
Armstrong’s powerful hitting and sharp fielding caught the selectors’ attention, as did her match-winning 71 runs off 34 balls against the Central Hinds in the Dream11 Super Smash last season.
WHITE FERNS coach Ben Sawyer said it was pleasing to be able to reward players for their performances on the domestic scene.
“I’d firstly like to congratulate both players on what is a really significant moment in their careers,” he said.
“Kate had an outstanding domestic season last year and was unfortunate to miss the Sri Lanka tour through injury.
“We like her power and skills with the bat and we’re looking forward to giving her an opportunity on the international stage.”
Sawyer said Armstrong’s selection was partly a nod to the future, with another ICC Women’s T20 World Cup just a year away.
“Bella’s an exciting young prospect who hits the ball hard and is an outstanding fielder, so she’s got all the attributes that we want from a WHITE FERN,” he said.
“We’ve got five T20 matches on this tour which is more than we usually get, so it’s a good opportunity for us to look at players who could potentially be part of our future World Cup campaigns.”
Sawyer said it was also great to welcome back pace-bowler Jess Kerr.
“It’s a real bonus to have Jess back in the squad after injury ruled her out of the Sri Lanka tour,” he said.
“She’s got a world-class bowling skill set and is especially effective with her in-swinger, which is proving more and more difficult in the women’s game.
“Jess bookends the innings, especially in a T20 match, as she swings it up front and then bowls an amazing leg cutter at the death."
Otago Sparks allrounder Hayley Jensen wasn’t considered for selection as she continues her rehabilitation from knee surgery in May.
The remainder of the squad is made up of familiar faces who have all experienced South African playing conditions this year courtesy of the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup and the ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup.
WHITE FERNS squad | Tour to South Africa
Sophie Devine (C)
Bella Armstrong* (T20I only)
Izzy Gaze (ODI only)
*Uncapped for the WHITE FERNS
WHITE FERNS tour to South Africa
Thu 21 September: Warm-up 50-over, Willowmoore Park, Benoni, 8pm NZT
Sun 24 September: 1st ODI, Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, 9pm NZT
Thu 28 September: 2nd ODI, Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg, 8.30pmNZT
Sun 1 October: 3rd ODI, Kingsmead, Durban, 8.30pmNZT
Fri 6 October: 1st T20I, Buffalo Park, East London, 5.00am NZT +1
Sun 8 October: 2nd T20I, Buffalo Park, East London, 1.00am NZT +1
Tue 10 October: 3rd T20I, Buffalo Park, East London, 5.00am NZT +1
Sat 14 October: 4th T20I, Willowmoore Park, Benoni, 1.00am NZT +1
Sun 15 October: 5th T20I, Willowmoore Park, Benoni, 1.00am NZT +1
The WHITE FERNS assemble for a training camp at Tauranga’s Bay Oval on September 10-14, before departing to South Africa on September 17.
Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates, Fran Jonas, and Maddy Green will not be in attendance due to pre-arranged contracts with franchise leagues.