CLEAR White Ferns finalise World Cup warm up programme

New Zealand's warm-up programme for the CricInfo Women's World Cup in November-December was completed today when England agreed to play three pre-tournament matches.

The first game for the CLEAR White Ferns will be at Centennial Park in Oamaru on Sunday, November 19 with back-to-back games in Timaru on November 21-22.

England recovered from its 5-0 whitewash by New Zealand last summer by taking a 3-2 series win over South Africa recently and has taken the chance to introduce several new players to its team.

England's final squad for the tour will be named on October 16 and the side will arrive in Christchurch on Tuesday, November 14. They have one game, against a Canterbury XI on Thursday, November 16 before the series against the White Ferns.

New Zealand's squad of 18 will be reduced to 15 players on Tuesday, October 31 following two trial one-day matches at Lincoln Green on October 28-29.

New Zealand selection convener Lesley Murdoch said the series would be a perfect warm up for both sides.

"The key requirement of a warm up match is to provide quality competition so that players are in no doubt about the level of performance they need to reach.

"I expect the matches will be three testing encounters which will give both batsmen and bowlers a taste of the standards they will need to produce consistently over the four weeks of the CricInfo Women's World Cup tournament," she said.

Other nations competing in the CricInfo Women's World Cup (with host associations in brackets) are: Australia (Otago), South Africa (Canterbury), India (Wellington), Sri Lanka (Auckland), the Netherlands (Central Districts) and Ireland (Northern Districts), and they will each have two games before the tournament.

The White Ferns should have an early chance to assess the abilities of several new players England has introduced to its side. Among these are three teenagers, Cornwall's Laura Harper, a 16-year-old spin bowler, Lancashire 18-year-old Arran Thompson and right-arm medium pace bowler Leanne Davis, who was until recently the youngest player to debut in international women's cricket. She was 15 years 35 days when selected to play South Africa, but was subsequently bettered by Pakistani 12-year-old Sajida Shah in Ireland.

They each broke New Zealander Munokoa Tunupopo's record set in Auckland earlier this year.