Allrounder Sophie Devine is set to lead New Zealand at the Women's T20 World Cup, having been named captain on Thursday. Devine takes over indefinitely from Amy Satterthwaite, who recently gave birth to her first child.
Devine's first assignment as full-time New Zealand captain will be the three ODIs and five T20Is against the visiting South Africa team, leading into the Women's T20 World Cup in Australia from February 21.
Medium pacer Jess Kerr, sister of allrounder Amelia Kerr, was also picked for the ODI series against South Africa. This was twenty-two-year-old Jess Kerr's maiden New Zealand call-up. She plays for Wellington in domestic cricket.
Devine's new assignment comes on the back of some red-hot form in her previous high-profile tournament, the Women's Big Bash League, where she was named Player of the Tournament. There, playing for Adelaide Strikers, she led the batting charts with 769 at 76.90 in 16 games, scoring at 130.33 runs per hundred balls inclusive of a whopping 29 sixes. She was also fourth on the bowling charts, with 19 wickets at 20.68, conceding just over a run a ball. In all she has played 102 ODIs and 83 T20Is for New Zealand, having debuted in October 2006.
Speaking about her new job, Devine said: "This is a team I'm deeply passionate about and to have the opportunity to help drive its future is a privilege.
"It's an exciting time for women's cricket in this country with the recently signed MOU with NZC, a fresh direction with our new coach Bob Carter, and two ICC World Cups [the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia, and the one-day World Cup in New Zealand in 2021] on the horizon.
"We've got a good mix of talent and experience in the group and I'm looking forward to leaning on my fellow senior players to try and build on the good work done by Amy and Suzie Bates."
Satterthwaite had announced in August 2019 that she would be taking a break from cricket to have her child with her wife and team-mate Lea Tahuhu. Under the new Women's Master Agreement, Satterthwaite will continue to be contracted with New Zealand Cricket while she is on her break. She had said she would look to take up mentoring duties during this period, and looked forward to "working my way back with an eye on the 2021 ICC Women's World Cup held in New Zealand".
Jess Kerr credited sister Amelia for pushing her to get to the level she is at, and said she was excited to play alongside her for New Zealand. "To be selected in my first White Ferns squad is a huge honour and it's something I've been working towards for a while. To be picked in a squad alongside Melie [Amelia] is pretty special. She's inspired me a lot to get back into playing cricket competitively and push for higher honours.
"I've loved playing alongside her in the [Wellington] Blaze but to be representing our country together is even more special."
New Zealand's ODI squad for the South Africa series: Sophie Devine (capt), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest