Jess Watkin, the 19-year old Central Districts allrounder, and Bernadine Bezuidenhout, the former South African international, have been called up to the New Zealand women squad for their upcoming tour of England and Ireland. The duo was included in a 15-member squad that will play ODIs against England and Ireland, as well as a T20 tri-series featuring New Zealand, England and South Africa.
"Jess and Bernadine are tremendous talents with lots of potential," Kirsty Bond, the national selector, said. "They're aggressive players who possess a broad skillset and that allows them to adapt to changing game situations quickly."
Watkin, who smashed a 123-ball double-century for Central Districts against Wellington at the National Women's Under-21 tournament in December, has won the Central Hinds' young-player-of-the-year award in successive seasons.
"Jess is a special player who we've been keeping an eye on since she debuted domestically in 2013," Bond said. "She's an explosive batter who hits the ball hard, and is a more than useful offspin option, so she offers us great versatility. We've also been impressed by the work she's done on her fitness and physical conditioning over the past season."
Bezuidenhout, who switched camp from South Africa following her relocation to Christchurch in 2015, became eligible for selection after the expiration of a two-year residential stand-down in August 2017. In a six-month international career for South Africa, she played four ODIs and seven T20Is.
"Bernadine's an exciting player and proved her talent by topping the women's domestic T20 runs table this season," Bond said. "She's an innovative player with a wide skillset, and, like Jess, plays that aggressive style of cricket which we believe we need going forward. Bernadine's also an excellent athlete who's good in the park, and that aligns with our intention to build a multi-faceted team unit, particularly for T20 cricket."
The squad will get together for a training camp in Lincoln from May 12 to 15 before departing for Dublin on June 1. The tour will begin with a one-off T20I against Ireland. The teams will then face off in three ODIs, which will be followed by the T20 tri-series. The tour will then conclude with a three-match ODI series against England in July.
New Zealand women squad: Suzie Bates (capt), Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin