Amy Satterthwaite looking forward to getting the band back together

Devine and Bates join Satterthwaite to bolster batting line-up against England

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
New Zealand have almost got their batting band back together and key member Amy Satterthwaite expects an improved performance when they take on England, starting with Wednesday night's opening T20I at Chelmsford.
Satterthwaite will likely be joined in the upper order by Sophie Devine, back after taking a break from the sport in late March, and Suzie Bates, who returns from shoulder surgery which has kept her out of action since the WBBL last November.
Allrounder Amelia Kerr remains out, having opted to miss the tour of England to prioritise her mental health, but with three big-name stars to call on, New Zealand are hoping to turn around a disappointing run of results.
New Zealand were swept 3-0 by Australia in their ODIs in April after drawing their T20 series 1-1. That was after England won all three of their T20s in New Zealand in March and won their ODI series 2-1, the hosts securing a consolation victory in the last match on the back of Satterthwaite's unbeaten 119.
"We haven't had an opportunity to probably have our full-strength side together for a while and get those combinations going," Satterthwaite said. "And it's no excuse as to why we haven't then performed, but I think more importantly the exciting thing for me is that we have got all of us here, obviously bar Amelia for this trip, and to think that we can hopefully get back together and put some performances on the park that we have in the past and know that we're capable of.
"Certainly the way that people are hitting it in the nets, I wouldn't want to be a bowler at the moment to some of them so hopefully we can see that translate onto the park and get some better performances and some big partnerships together and see our top order actually firing the way that we know that they can."
All three played in the side beaten by England A in a 50-over warm-up match just over a week ago, Bates top-scoring with 70 off 110.
"It's been awesome to have Suze back in the group," Satterthwaite said. "I think we forget in a way how much energy she brings to this team. It's not just what she brings on the field but the energy and the standards that she sets as a player and an athlete on and off the field and at training. It's lifted us as a group up another level.
"She's hitting the ball the best I've seen over the last couple of years, pre-shoulder as well, and for me that's exciting to see what she'll bring to the team and to be able to bat alongside her and hopefully form some partnerships - we've formed some big partnerships in the past and to be able to get back into that kind of rhythm is really exciting.
"Soph as well, we all know what a world-class player she is and to see her back amongst the group and in a really good space and again hitting the ball really well. I'm excited to hopefully see the three of us be able to form some big combinations, not only with each other but even just the others in the side and start to really cement how we want our line-up to look."
Satterthwaite, who - like Devine - failed to reach double figures in the tour match, took two wickets and could assume more of a role with the ball in Kerr's absence. But she was particularly happy to see wife Lea Tahuhu back in action in the nets after undergoing surgery to remove a pre-cancerous mole on her foot.
"She's going really well, I'm really pleased with how she's tracking, she's partaking in everything and you wouldn't really know to be honest," Satterthwaite said. "It's been pretty impressive how quickly she's bounced back.
"That was a really tough road for her there for a while but the way she's bounced back and I think she's just really pleased to be around the group and on tour and contributing to that so it's awesome to see her back and amongst the group."
The three-match T20 series is followed by five ODIs in which both sides will be honing their preparations for the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand next March, where England are defending champions. Satterthwaite recognised that this tour would provide a useful gauge of form ahead of the global tournament.
"We certainly weren't where we'd like to be," Satterthwaite said of the series against England and Australia earlier this year. "For us this is almost a nice reflection point of, have we improved?
"We've certainly been able to go away and work really hard over the winter and I guess the biggest thing is, now we want to be able to play cricket. It's always different when you're coming off just camps and nets.
"England have had their summer and played a lot of games and a lot of cricket, so for us it's about being able to get out on the park and play those games and see, have we moved forward from where we were in the summer and where are we at now? We've got yet another six months or so to keep pushing forward as a group and being ready for the World Cup, which is obviously that pinnacle that we're looking forward to."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo