Canterbury Magicians bowler Lea Tahuhu and Northern Districts wicketkeeper batter Bernadine Bezuidenhout are set to return to the WHITE FERNS contract list for the 2023-24 season, joining Magicians batter Kate Anderson who has received a central contract offer for the first time.
Despite missing out on a central contract last year, Tahuhu was a mainstay in the WHITE FERNS squad, continuing as a key cog in the team’s bowling unit.
Bezuidenhout returns to the contract list for the first time since the 2019-20 season following a two-year absence from cricket as she recovered from RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport).
The wicketkeeper-batter returned to the WHITE FERNS for the T20 World Cup in South Africa in January and scored her maiden T20 international half-century against Bangladesh at Newlands.
Anderson was prolific in both formats during the 2022-23 domestic summer, topping the Dream11 Super Smash run-scoring charts with a record-breaking 536 runs and notching 343 runs in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield, including an unbeaten 141 against the Central Hinds.
Her performances were rewarded with a clean sweep of the female domestic awards at the ANZ New Zealand Cricket awards, taking home the Dream11 Super Smash Player of the Year, the Ruth Martin Cup for domestic batting and the Women’s Domestic Player of the Year.
WHITE FERNS head coach Ben Sawyer said the new and returning contract offers were just reward for players’ strong performances over the past 12 months.
“This is a really exciting time for all our contracted players, especially for those returning to the list and receiving a contract for the first time,” said Sawyer.
“We’re delighted to be able to reward Kate Anderson with her first contract after her really impressive performances in domestic cricket last summer.”
“Kate has been dominant in both formats, but especially in the T20 game having broken Suzie Bates’ Super Smash run-scoring record, which shows the power and ability she possesses.
“Lea has been an important figure in our group over the last 12 months and has taken her game to a new level while also bringing strong leadership and helping with the development of our less experienced WHITE FERNS.
“Bernie has been on a real journey over the last two years and her inclusion is testament to her work ethic and commitment to her game.
“She showed at the World Cup what she can offer with both the bat and the gloves, so we’re looking forward to building on that skillset and mindset over the coming season.”
The contract list is made up of a familiar core of experienced players including captain Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates, Maddy Green and Melie Kerr, while Otago spinner Eden Carson, Wellington batter Georgia Plimmer and Auckland trio Izzy Gaze, Fran Jonas and Molly Penfold have all retained their contracts after being added to the list last season.
New Zealand Cricket Head of Female High Performance Liz Green said she was confident the contracted players and the high-performance structures would yield success in the future.
“We think that these players possess the skills and appetite to develop as cricketers and represent New Zealand well on the world stage,” said Green.
“We’re pleased with the high performance structures we’ve integrated in the women’s space and believe that they will enable future success on the world stage.”
Of the players contracted in the 2022/23 season, wicketkeeper Jess McFadyen and allrounder Nensi Patel have not received an offer to renew their existing contracts.
Auckland batter Lauren Down, who was offered a central contract for the 2023/24 season, has opted not to take up an agreement this season due to family reasons.
Of this year’s contracted players, Kate Anderson (finger), Hayley Jensen (knee) and Jess Kerr (toe) are unavailable for this month’s tour to Sri Lanka due to injury.
The WHITE FERNS depart for the tour to Sri Lanka tomorrow.
WHITE FERNS central contract offers 2023/24: Kate Anderson, Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Eden Carson, Sophie Devine, Izzy Gaze, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Melie Kerr, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu