Allrounder Suzie Bates has been appointed captain of New Zealand Women, succeeding Aimee Watkins, who retired in July. Bates was also part of the New Zealand basketball team for the Beijing Olympics but said the new responsibility meant that the chance to play in the 2012 London Games would have to take a backseat.
"I knew there was a chance of leading this team but there are obviously other players who had the skills to do it,' she told the New Zealand Herald. "So I'm pretty excited to have been given the opportunity.
"I've been balancing the two [sports] for the last eight years and I've been very fortunate to be able to have done both. Captaining New Zealand in cricket is something that is not easy to turn down and it does mean that basketball's in the backseat but I still love both games and, at the moment, the cricket's at the forefront and I'm still committed to that. But it doesn't mean basketball won't still get a chance later down the track.''
The New Zealand basketball team could qualify for the 2012 London Olympics but Bates said that after being made captain of the cricket side, it was clear which sport was going to take precedence for now. "It makes it difficult if I'm being the captain and I'm skiving off to the Olympics and things when there's jobs to be done here,'' Bates said. "So I guess that does make my commitment to cricket a little bit stronger than it has been.''
Gary Stead, the New Zealand coach, said that Bates was suited to take over the captaincy. "Suzie thinks a lot about the game and is quick to offer tactical input during meetings and out on the field. She is a natural leader who has had a positive influence on the younger members of the squad over the past few years and is someone other players look up to. That's important with the current squad as we go through a rebuilding phase."
Bates' first assignment as captain will be the limited-overs tour of Australia in January comprising of five T20Is and three ODIs before New Zealand face England at home later in the summer.