Amy Satterthwaite has been appointed the New Zealand women captain, with Suzie Bates stepping down from the post after six years in charge.

Bates said she had arrived at a point in her career in which she believed she could contribute more to the White Ferns, as the New Zealand team is known, by placing a greater emphasis on her performance as a player.

"Captaining the White Ferns was a great honour and a rewarding experience. I can look back knowing I gave it my all for six years," Bates said. "I know I still have a lot to contribute to the White Ferns and international cricket, and that the best way for me to do that is by concentrating more energy into my performances on the field."

Bates said that while initially the additional responsibility brought out the best in her as a player, for the past year she had struggled to cope with leading the side. "The last 12 months I've probably struggled with captaincy and playing, and our performances as a group haven't gone as well as I would have liked," she said. "It has affected my performances, particularly at the end of seasons where I've been more fatigued.

"It was a little bit of a relief that I can just move on and spend my energy into being the best player I can be, and also potentially helping out some of the younger players more without the captaincy responsibilities."

Bates also endorsed Satterthwaite as a suitable replacement, saying she was a very capable captain. "She has my full backing and I am looking forward to supporting her in any way I can," Bates said.

Satterthwaite has led the side previously, captaining in three ODIs, the last of which was in June this year, against Ireland Women, and said she was excited to take charge ahead of a busy 2018-19 season.

"It's a huge honour to be asked to captain your country and I'm really excited about what lies ahead," Satterthwaite said. "Suzie has done an outstanding job captaining the White Ferns over the past few years, and I'm sure she'll continue to contribute considerably in a leadership sense."

Bates, who has played 115 ODIs and 101 T20Is, is New Zealand's top run-getter in both formats. She has 4245 runs in ODIs, and is trailed by Satterthwaite, who is third, with 3475 runs in 113 ODIs. In T20Is, Bates has 2755 runs, and Satterthwaite is third there too, with 1355 runs in 89 matches.

David White, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive, said he supported Bates and understood the reasons behind her decision. "Suzie has made it clear to me that she wants to lift her game to another level and build further on what already has been a stellar career," White said. "She is already one of our 'greats' in terms of New Zealand cricket, and we're happy to do anything we can to continue to enable her."

White added that Satterthwaite had the full confidence of NZC. "Amy will relish the challenge and I'm sure will be a very good captain."

Bates took over as the team's captain at the end of 2011, and led them through two Women's World Cups and three Women's World T20 tournaments.

Satterthwaite's first assignment as the full-time captain will be a three-match T20I series against Australia, before the team heads to the West Indies for the Women's World T20 in November. Before their tour of Australia at the end of September, New Zealand women will have a four-day camp in Lincoln, starting on Thursday.