Sophie Devine 'embarrassed' as rout leaves New Zealand campaign in tatters

NZ captain says domestic standards aren't high enough after back-to-back drubbings

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
A tearful Sophie Devine has admitted she's at a loss to explain New Zealand's double capitulation, which has left their T20 World Cup hopes in shreds after two games.
Bowled out by South Africa for 67, their second-lowest T20I total just two days after slumping to 76 all out against Australia, Devine described both performances in Paarl as "embarrassing".
"I'm not sure too many words can describe the disappointment and… the embarrassment," Devine said after losing to the hosts by 65 runs, scarcely better than their 97-run defeat to the Australians on Saturday. "That's not good enough for an international cricket side and I take a lot of that as captain and how I lead this team, and it's not good enough.
"You've got to be brave in positions like that. We spoke about it after the Australia game, that we'd rather go down swinging and then go back into our shells and we probably did that again tonight, which is disappointing. And we've got to find out why that's happening because you can't do that, particularly at World Cups. So they're some of the discussions that we're going to have to have because I know we've got the skill. We've worked very hard as a team. It's not the effort. It's how we're putting it out here on the park. It's tough."
With a run-rate "absolutely out the window" at -4.050, Devine acknowledged that reaching the knockout stages was unrealistic but she said New Zealand's remaining games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka remained valuable as her side tries to unearth why things are going so wrong and how they can improve after their batting order failed for a second straight match. And she called for an examination of her country's domestic structure to find a solution longer-term
"I'm sure we're going to absolutely dissect every part of this tournament and this campaign when we get back to New Zealand and I think a big part of that's going to be our domestic game," she said. "If I'm being brutally honest, I'm not sure if it's preparing us for international cricket and you're seeing now, obviously, the WBBL, the Hundred and now the WPL, they're highly competitive tournaments and they're preparing players.
"We've seen Australia, we're seeing England and I'm scared to think what India's going to be like with the opportunities that they give themselves. I think we've done great things in New Zealand with our domestic cricket but I'm not sure it's at the same standard as those other competitions so, look, I think everything's going to be picked apart and rightly so when we get back to New Zealand."
Devine was also critical of the timing of the WPL auction, which began three hours before England faced Ireland and continued throughout that match, ending shortly before the South Africa and New Zealand players took the field.
Devine and Amelia Kerr were the only two New Zealand players picked up at the auction, going to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians respectively. Five other players in their team, including opener Suzie Bates, were called but failed to secure deals.
"I think you're living under a rock if you think it wasn't a distraction," Devine said. "It was bizarre to be honest. I think the timing of it, obviously not ideal but it is what it is. And it was. There was lots of discussions amongst our players about it. But again, we were really open with it, how we felt. I don't know what the right or the wrong way was to handle it, but I certainly thought that as a group, we spoke about it openly and how it affected us and it's tough.
"It really put you in the spotlight a little bit so it's not ideal timing but, bigger-picture stuff, it's pretty incredible for women's sport and women's cricket to see some of the money that was thrown around in the tournament that's going to be kicking off shortly."
Devine was also keen to protect the youngsters in her team, like Eden Carson, who took the early wicket of Tazmin Brits among her 2 for 23, and teenager Fran Jonas. And, while visibly angry at the nature of New Zealand's latest defeat, she said there would be no shouting as she and team management dissect the performance.
"It's probably going to come out in tears if I'm honest," she said. "It's really hard to lose games of cricket like that. I'd much rather we went down swinging and got bowled out for 12 than not show our true ability and be pumped like that. Full credit to South Africa, they were the much better team. Me getting angry is not going to solve anything. I don't know the answer. I honestly don't and that's what's really hard. That's what we're going to have to figure out as a team.
"It's been upsetting and it's been embarrassing and disappointing, but I'd give anything to play for this group and for the girls that are in that shed upstairs right now. Me getting angry isn't going to do anything about it. If anything, I need to get around them, wrap my arm around them, particularly those youngsters… we spoke about it after the Australia game, we never want to put them two in that position, and we did it again today. So we've got to find the positives amongst it, but it's going to be a pretty messy 24 hours."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo