Allrounder Kate Pulford has springed back into the New Zealand squad for the Women's World Cup with impressive performances in the domestic circuit. The 14-member team, which will also play the Rose Bowl against Australia in the run-up to the World Cup in March, includes one newcomer in bowler Abby Burrows.
"Abby has been a consistent performer at State League level for many years," coach Gary Stead said. "She has tremendous ability to swing and seam the ball and will be a great asset to the side."
The 28-year-old Pulford last played for New Zealand in December 2003, having played 30 ODIs and one Test since her debut in 1999. Strong domestic performances for the State Northern Spirit this season pushed her back into the reckoning. "Kate's a strong hitter of the ball and a versatile bowler - she has the potential to be a match-winner for us," Stead said.
Also returning to the team is allrounder Suzie Bates, who missed the last Rose Bowl series as she was preparing for the Beijing Olympics as part of the New Zealand basketball team.
Stead is confident about the team's prospects in the coming months. "This is a great team to be taking into a challenging season of international cricket," he said. "We're really looking forward to the prospect of taking on Australia on our home territory again. Our last Rose Bowl series was very closely fought - we're positive we'll compete strongly this time around and this will be a good indication of where we are at just a month out from the World Cup".
New Zealand have not won the Rose Bowl since 1999. Their last meeting, away in Lincoln last March, ended in a 3-2 loss to Australia.
Besides the five ODIs for the Rose Bowl, the two teams will also contest a Twenty20 game next month. New Zealand's World Cup campaign also kicks off with a league game against Australia, the hosts and defending champions. South Africa and West Indies are the other teams they will face in the first round, with the top three making it to the Super Six stage. New Zealand made it to the semi-finals of the last edition, in South Africa, in 2005.
New Zealand squad: Haidee Tiffen (capt), Aimee Mason (vice-capt), Suzie Bates, Nic Browne, Abby Burrows, Sophie Devine, Lucy Doolan, Sara McGlashan, Beth McNeill, Katey Martin, Rachel Priest, Kate Pulford, Amy Satterthwaite, Sarah Tsukigawa.