Suzie Bates: 'Amelia Kerr will break my record as leading run-scorer one day'

The male cricketer to come closest to Amelia Kerr's 232 not out and five-for in an ODI is Alvin Kallicharran, who made 206 and took six wickets in a List A game in England in 1984 Getty Images

It's been quite a month for the White Ferns. First they broke the record for the highest total in women's ODIs, racking up 491 against Ireland; then, two games later, 17-year-old Amelia Kerr smashed 232* to overtake Belinda Clark's two-decades-old record.

Captain Suzie Bates, who during the series surpassed Debbie Hockley's record as leading run-scorer for New Zealand in women's ODIs, is still struggling to take it all in.

"It was unbelievable," she says of that first ODI. "Batting looked effortless - everyone seemed to go out there and find the boundary.

"I probably would have predicted four wins against Ireland, but to be setting world records - I would never have guessed that."

All the same, she is perhaps less surprised than some at Kerr's shock performance. For a player who was selected for her legspin and who has batted as low as 10 in the two years since her international debut, a double-century was hardly on the radar. Bates, though, knew different.

"I saw her when she was in an Under-15 Wellington side - she opened the batting and just her cricket awareness and nous, she just looked like she'd been batting for years. So I've always known that she's going to be an allrounder in this side.

"I would put my money on her to chase down my record [for most runs by a New Zealander in women's ODIs] one day."

On Wednesday at Taunton, New Zealand begin their T20 tri-series against England and South Africa. Kerr, Bates says, has made an undeniable case for a move up the order. "You can't ignore that performance. She will get a few more opportunities with the bat in this series. I'm excited to see how she goes because I know she's got it in her to perform against any team we come up against."

For New Zealand, it will be their first series in England since crashing out of the World Cup nearly 12 months ago, despite many pegging them as pre-tournament favourites for the title.

"It was quite a bitter pill to swallow," Bates admits. "With the quality of players that we had in that side, to not make the semi-finals was a massive disappointment."

"Every World Cup we go to, people talk about potential but we have got to get across that line. With the experience we have there's no excuses any more. We've had to move on and reset our goals."

Despite their recent heroics against Ireland, she knows this is not the time for complacency: "South Africa have looked like a pretty dangerous side with Lizelle Lee in such good form, and England have got a very strong batting line-up. We've got to be better than we've been against the top teams." She has the Women's World T20 in November firmly in her sights: "I'm still hoping I'll win a World Cup before I retire."

One challenge in that regard is that New Zealand are currently lagging ever further behind Australia and England in the pay stakes. "We're not all fully professional as a squad," Bates says. "New Zealand Cricket are starting to see the value of investing in women's cricket, but right now we're still taking small steps. We're locked into a three-year MOU which comes around next year where I think we'll have some real bargaining power." The coming of age of Amelia Kerr will presumably only help their case.

Bates herself is one of the lucky ones, her talent meaning she is able to travel around the world with cricket now her career. "I used to think I'd have to quit cricket because I wasn't making any money. Now we get paid it makes it a lot easier."

For a player who once split her time between cricket and basketball - Bates represented New Zealand in the 2008 Beijing Olympics - it has meant a full-time commitment to the former and a corresponding rise in the rankings. In 2015 she was crowned Wisden's Leading Female Cricketer of the Year and in a recent poll byThe Guardian of the best international women cricketers she was placed at No. 2.

"When I started out I probably didn't understand my game that well, and I was a bit hit or miss with the bat," she says. "I feel like in the past four years I've worked out my style. The professionalisation of the sport around the world has reinvigorated my game."

One recent opportunity came last month, in the inaugural Women's Challenge IPL match in Mumbai. Bates represented the Trailblazers, hitting 32 and was awarded Player of the Match. "It was a crazy week!" says Bates. "But once we got there it was just brilliant. It was a great opportunity to train with the Indian players who haven't been as involved in the KSL or the WBBL."

"The world is ready for a women's IPL."

The match also involved a 45-run partnership with 17-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues, who Bates describes as "a bit like Amelia Kerr - they've both got something about them. You bat with them and they're so competitive already, and you see that they've got the world at their feet. When I've finished, those will be the two players I'll enjoy watching."

She has also spent the past three English summers playing in the Women's County Championship - her side, Hampshire, were recently crowned Champions of Division 1 - and she is set to captain Southern Vipers in this year's Kia Super League.

"I love playing over here," she says. "Personally I couldn't have had any better preparation for the tri-series. I've faced a lot of English bowlers throughout the season, I've played at a lot of grounds, I feel like the last three years I've learned a lot about the conditions over here. It all bodes well but the proof will be in the pudding when we get out there on Wednesday."