Wellington Blaze wicket-keeper-batter Jess McFadyen will make her long-awaited WHITE FERNS debut in the upcoming home Gillette Venus WHITE FERNS v Bangladesh series.
The 31-year-old is the only new face in an otherwise unchanged squad that won both the one-day and T20 series on the recent tour to the West Indies, with fellow wicketkeeper Izzy Gaze making way.
McFadyen has needed to bide her time since receiving her first WHITE FERNS contract last season.
She was included in the squad for last year’s tour of England and the recent Commonwealth Games, but didn’t feature in either campaign, and missed out on selection for the recent West Indies tour.
WHITE FERNS head coach Ben Sawyer said the series, which comprises three T20s and three ODIs, was a good opportunity for McFadyen to show her skills on the international stage.
“Debuting for your country is always a special moment, so we’re delighted to be welcoming Jess into the side for what will be an exciting series,” said Sawyer.
“Jess brings great energy - when we worked together at the Commonwealth Games I was really impressed with what she brought to the team environment - and she has good experience with the bat, especially in that middle order.
“The objective is always to go out and win games of cricket but we also want to make sure we prepare thoroughly for the World Cup next year.
“We used the recent series in the West Indies to try different combinations with bat and ball and we also want to do that with the wicketkeepers; we want to see what Jess can bring to the team.
“We’re also in a fortunate position that we have a New Zealand Development team touring India, which Izzy (Gaze) is involved in, so we’re able to give both players experience in different conditions and against different opposition.
Canterbury Magicians fast bowler Lea Tahuhu and Wellington Blaze batter Georgia Plimmer have been included in the squad for the T20 fixtures only, which start at Hagley Oval on December 2.
Seamers Hannah Rowe and Molly Penfold will join the squad for the ODI series, which begins at the Cello Basin Reserve on December 11.
Sophie Devine will captain the side and will be joined by familiar faces Suzie Bates, Melie Kerr, Jess Kerr, Maddy Green, Lea Tahuhu and Hayley Jensen, who join the squad following spells in the Women’s Big Bash.
WHITE FERNS squad v Bangladesh
Sophie Devine (c) (Wellington Blaze)
Suzie Bates (Otago Sparks)
Eden Carson (Otago Sparks)
Lauren Down (Auckland Hearts)
Maddy Green (Wellington Blaze)
Brooke Halliday (Northern Brave)
Hayley Jensen (Otago Sparks)
Fran Jonas (Auckland Hearts)
Amelia Kerr (Wellington Blaze)
Jess Kerr (Wellington Blaze)
Jess McFadyen (Wellington Blaze)
Molly Penfold (Auckland Hearts) (ODIs only)
Georgia Plimmer (Wellington Blaze) (T20s only)
Hannah Rowe (Central Hinds) (ODIs only)
Lea Tahuhu (Canterbury Magicians) (T20s only)
The visit from Bangladesh will be the WHITE FERNS last official series before the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup next year and Sawyer said he would be using the series to complete final preparations before departing for South Africa.
“Over the last couple of months we’ve put together a blueprint of how we want to play, particularly in the T20 format, with an eye on the World Cup next year,” said Sawyer.
“This tour will be a great opportunity to continue working and refining those plans and making any necessary adjustments.
“At the moment we think we’ve got a pretty good style of play and so it will be about putting all of that together, on what should be some good wickets at home”.
Sawyer said he was relishing the opportunity to be WHITE FERNS head coach for the first time in New Zealand.
“Personally for me, it’s really exciting to be back playing in New Zealand.
“We’ve got six matches at six different locations around the country, so we’re really looking forward to getting around, experiencing different conditions and interacting with our fans around the country.”
The series will be the first time Bangladesh Women have ever played a bilateral series in New Zealand, but will be their second visit this year, following their World Cup campaign in March.
The WHITE FERNS assemble in Christchurch today, ahead of the 1st T20 at Hagley Oval on December 2.
WHITE FERNS v Bangladesh
Friday 2 December - 1st T20, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Sunday 4 December - 2nd T20, University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
Wednesday 7 December - 3rd T20, John Davies Oval, Queenstown
Sunday 11 December - 1st ODI, Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington
Wednesday 14 December - 2nd ODI, McLean Park, Napier
Saturday 17 December - 3rd ODI, Seddon Park, Hamilton