For all the players involved, the Australia-New Zealand women's series which starts in Brisbane on Saturday is important, bringing international sport back to the country for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, but for Amy Satterthwaite there will be added significance as she returns to the game after having her first child with wife and team-mate Lea Tahuhu.

Grace Marie was born on January 13 and nine months later Satterthwaite will join what remains a select group of sportswomen to return to the top of their field after starting a family. Providing selection goes in her favour, the opening match of the T20I series will also be Satterthwaite's 100th T20I.

"It's a pretty special story to think I've gone away, had a child and my first possible game back will not only be for New Zealand but also be my 100th T20," Satterthwaite told ESPNcricinfo. "And for Grace to be able to be around and see that, hopefully it will be a special day."

"Grace has been with us on tour and it's been awesome, think the team has really enjoyed having her around bringing a lot of smiles to faces"

While the decision to start a family when playing elite sport was nothing to do with making statements for Satterthwaite, she admitted becoming more aware of what it can stand for and how it can further show that it is no longer an either/or decision.

"More people have pointed it out as we've gone along and what it means," she said. "It certainly wasn't something we set out to do, but you come to realise just the nature of what we are doing, you are setting a bit of trail as people call it.

"I've played for a while now and I've seen people who were playing for New Zealand or Canterbury and they've stopped to have a family then not come back. From our point of view, it would be an awesome result to be able to show that people can have a family and still play."

The Covid-world has brought a new set of challenges, especially as Satterthwaite and Tahuhu are at the start of a long stay in Australia with the WBBL for Melbourne Renegades to follow this series. Originally the plan would have been to have family join them to help look after Grace, but quarantine restrictions has meant that isn't possible so they organised separate nannies, who will be within the biosecure bubbles, for their stays in Brisbane and then Sydney.

"It threw a bit of a spanner in the works like it did for most people," Satterthwaite said. "Grace has been with us on tour and it's been awesome, think the team has really enjoyed having her around bringing a lot of smiles to faces. It's been a nice distraction while we've been in quarantine."

Satterthwaite, who has lost the New Zealand captaincy to Sophie Devine, will resume the role in the WBBL with last year's Renegades' skipper, Jess Duffin, having also given birth in June.

Both New Zealand Cricket and the Renegades "have been brilliant," she added. "It takes a lot of stress and pressure off you to able to know that's all taken care of and that support is there, you and enjoy training and playing."

Satterthwaite returned to training a few months ago in the depths of the New Zealand winter and while she admitted to occasional thoughts about the reality of the challenges the hunger remained.

"You start thinking of the road ahead, the fitness that you've got involved, you sort of think 'will I be up for this?' but for the most part that fire was still in the belly to come back," she said. "Definitely there was an element of having this new life, and having Grace there I knew it was going to be pretty tough to be able to leave her to train but the more I got into it the more normal it became, that was probably the hardest part leaving her to go and work.

"I've played for a while now and I've seen people who were playing for New Zealand or Canterbury and they've stopped to have a family then not come back. From our point of view, it would be an awesome result to be able to show that people can have a family and still play"

"That first hit I had with [New Zealand coach] Bob Carter was certainly an interesting one. That feeling of apprehension about whether you'll be able to hit the ball, but at the same I had low expectations because I hadn't played cricket for a while. In a roundabout way I was pretty relaxed and it went quite well. After a long break you have that slight nervousness as to whether or not you will really want to come back and for me to enjoy that session reinforced that I was looking forward to it. So that was a nice feeling."

In the three years before her break, from 2016-2019, Satterthwaite had risen to be the No. 1 batter in ODI cricket and she will return to that format in early October still ranked No. 7. In that period she averaged a phenomenal 61.35 and it included four hundreds in consecutive innings which equalled the world record held by Kumar Sangakkara. On the route back she has delved into the archives of that memorable time.

"I have certainly had a look at the footage to remind myself of how I played and what worked. When you haven't played for a while it's nice to refresh the memory and hopefully take that into when I do get back onto the park, remember the feelings I was having at the time when it was working well. I think too often as cricketers we look at what isn't going well and it's very important to look at strengths and what has been successful."

By contrast, her T20I record is less eye-catching with an average of 21.19 and just one half-century in 89 innings. However, she believes her domestic T20 record where she averaged 28.87 in the WBBL and 31.35 in the now defunct Kia Super League is a truer reflect of where her game sits although she continues to strive to expand her batting.

"Over the last few years at domestic level my record has certainly been better there than it has been at international level," she said. "It's probably taken longer to work out my game in the T20 format where I've been relatively comfortable at 50-overs.

"In my career I've batted in all sorts of positions in T20 and I know trying to score from the get-go has been something I've had to work on over the years. When you have the quality of Sophie [Devine] and Suzie [Bates] ahead of you, you have to learn to play your game and not copy how they play."

There are no guarantees for how the comeback will go for Satterthwaite - "the test will be when you get back out into the middle, competing in matches," she said - but her return is significant beyond just the runs and wickets.