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News

'Been a bit of a rollercoaster' - Tahuhu hopes to put low phase behind after unexpected CWG call-up

"Any experience is going to be welcome, and she's fit in really easily," says Ben Sawyer of the senior allrounder

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit
04-Jul-2022
Meg Lanning goes over the top, New Zealand women vs Australia women , Women's RODI World Cup warm-up, Lincoln, March 1, 2022

"I've been given an opportunity to play again and I'm just really excited to get going with the girls in a week or so"  •  ICC/Getty Images

Lea Tahuhu has been through what she calls a "rollercoaster" in the last couple of months, but a late call-up to the New Zealand squad for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) has changed things.
Soon after finishing the World Cup as New Zealand's joint-highest wicket-taker, she was left out of the central contracts' list. Tahuhu is 31, but unlike older players such as Amy Satterthwaite and Frances Mackay, who were also left out, her omission was significant given her World Cup performance, where she battled a hamstring niggle.
Barely two weeks later, Tahuhu was also left out of the CWG squad.
But there was a glimmer of hope. Tahuhu was picked by Manchester Originals in the Hundred and New Zealand's coach, Ben Sawyer, also told her that if a "spot came up" in the CWG squad, they would call her up. And such was Tahuhu's luck that fellow quick Jess Kerr was ruled out with an injury, and Lauren Down withdrew to "prioritise her well-being". Tahuhu got the phone call last week, and she was back in New Zealand's squad.
"It's an honour anytime to be able to put on the black shirt and it was my ambition to fight my way back in and to be given that opportunity now… it's really exciting," Tahuhu said on Monday. "Other people's misfortune has given me this opportunity earlier than anyone would have expected, and I certainly feel a lot for the girls missing out on any tour and not being able to play for your country.
"There's no denying that it was a tough situation a few weeks ago but I'm looking to put that behind me now and I've been given an opportunity to play again and I'm just really excited to get going with the girls in a week or so.
"Certainly, been a bit of a rollercoaster. Disappointed to miss out in the first place and I guess that dream of playing in the Commonwealth Games was gone, so to be reinstated over the last few days has certainly given another high. I'm really excited to be able to head over there."
"It was weird sort of saying, 'welcome back', but she's been great around the group, even just the couple of hours we've had here, so she's going to play a big part for us"
Ben Sawyer on Lea Tahuhu
Though she wasn't part of the original plans, Tahuhu could yet play a big role at the CWG.
"It's just about the balance of the side. We got four injuries to the contracts list, three of which were bowlers," Sawyer said. "We needed to cover that bowling, especially the pace bowling and with Lauren [out] as well, an allrounder was probably the best answer in that and Lea is obviously proven at that.
"Any experience is going to be welcome, and she's fit in really easily today. It was weird sort of saying, 'welcome back', but she's been great around the group, even just the couple of hours we've had here, so she's going to play a big part for us.
"For me she's a competitor and I can say that about a lot of the girls in the group so that's what I was attracted to initially in the job. They're very competitive and Lea typifies that. I'm really happy to have her in the squad and am looking forward to [see] what she can do."

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo