Suzie Bates will become only the eighth New Zealand woman to play 100 ODIs when she takes the field against South Africa in their second World Cup game on Wednesday. She will join the likes of Debbie Hockley, Sara McGlashan and Haidee Tiffin, the former captain and current head coach. The milestone, Bates said, was the result of doing "something right" over the last decade.
"As an 18-year old, I remember being pretty excited just to play the likes of Rebecca Rolls and Emily Drumm. I never thought I'd play this long. I was at university and cricket was bit of a hobby," she said. "I really didn't see it going professional. So to still be playing at 29, and be able to play in my 100th game on Wednesday is exciting. I can't remember how the last 10-11 years have gone.
"You look at the other names on the list; there are some greats - Debbie Hockley, Sara McGlashan, Amy Watkins. Then there's Haidee Tiffin, who was captain when I was playing. I looked up to Rebecca when I was growing up, a hard-hitting opening batsman who also played a lot of football. That was pretty inspiring to be playing with these players, and now to be in the same list is amazing."
Bates was still a rookie when New Zealand last came close to winning the World Cup, in 2009, when they were pipped by England in the final. It's a memory which hasn't escaped Bates, who is now into captaining New Zealand for the sixth-year running. Bates was the highest run-scorer at the 2013 edition in India and the Player of the Series, but could only watch her team finish fourth. A different outlook, one that stems with experience, has helped her approach cricket differently, she says.
"When I first started and got really serious about trying to be as serious as I can be. When I started leading the team, I probably didn't have a lot of things outside of cricket," she said. "When it didn't go well, it was terrible. When it did, you were on top of the world.
"Probably, I've become a lot more balanced on my outlook on cricket and trying to just take each game as it comes and not get too up and down along the way. Hopefully, captaining the side at this World Cup, we can maintain that sort of approach and not get too high or too low, because it's a long-old slog if you ride the highs and lows."
Having been around since 2006, Bates, a double international who also represented New Zealand in basketball at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, has had a ringside view of how the women's game has evolved over the last decade or so. For starters, she admits to being surprised at the exponential growth.
"It's unrecognisable from when I started," she said. "You got 30 dollars daily allowance if you were staying at home, and I used to with mum and dad. That was still a bit of pocket money. It was hobby for everyone. Many were studying, some were at school. People got away from their day jobs for tours and live a dream. When you got together for tours, it was the best thing ever, since you got to live the dream.
"Now, half a dozen of us do it 10 months of the year, full-time, and also get paid for it. When I first started, not just as a cricketer but just as a girl who loved sport, I never really thought it was going to be a career. I had study on the side and I just wanted to play sport because I loved it. I always thought I had to get a real job at some stage and I still haven't had to."