It has been an interesting journey and there have been a lot of challenges. I feel in the last couple of years I've really grown as a captain and the team is really coming on, having two crucial ICC Championship wins against England and India, but the World Cup in 2017 is my aim as a leader and getting this group in the right form for the tournament.
It's a really exciting time for women's cricket. I've been fortunate enough to play in Perth for the last three seasons, and that initially was just off my own bat. I wanted to play more cricket and the New Zealand domestic season is pretty short and I knew the coach over in Perth and took the opportunity to play over there, and there's been other Kiwi girls that have done that as well, because [Australia's] competition is so strong.
"The way you can learn from the longer format, having to bowl longer spells, you learn batsmanship and patience with the ball. It's something I've always pushed at NZC"
I guess as a semi-professional cricketer you always want more, but I know you don't want to have too much all at once. It's still not fully professional all around the world, so it would make it difficult for some players [to participate]. I think it's a good start with the Big Bash, and Cricket Australia have done a really good job with competitions in the past. If other countries want to jump on board in the future I'm sure there'll be lots of players keen to play all year around if the competitions are strong. Yeah, I'd love to play in India and I do love touring here, and it's always a different challenge to playing in the northern hemisphere and even playing in Australia and at home - just such different conditions.
I guess it's catch-22. I think that's a bit of danger of these competitions - that the top six or seven players in the White Ferns are going to be well looked after. We've got ten contracts, so most of those girls will be contracted, they will be playing domestic cricket, hopefully picking up Big Bash contracts and also playing an ICC Championship on top of that, so they are going to be getting the best cricket available, playing all year round in different conditions in different competitions. But for New Zealand in particular, the worry is the next year down they miss out on those opportunities, and perhaps our domestic game isn't quite strong enough to prepare them for international cricket.
Once again it's a catch-22. We've been really fortunate the last couple of seasons to have these 10 contracts. Growing up as a cricketer, I never saw it to be a profession. It was not just a hobby, but I had to have a career on the side to support myself. And I don't think that was a bad thing - having to go to university, even though I wanted to be playing cricket and other sports. We've got a police officer, Kaite Perkins; a vet, Amy Satterthwaite; we've got teachers. And it's quite nice having those balanced people in the side. I think it's going to change pretty soon because it's going to be hard to maintain a career.
I do really like the format of the women's Ashes - having the one four-day match, the three ODIs and the three T20s. I think that's a really nice balance of all formats. And I think the addition of the ICC Women's Championship has been huge for the women's game globally, and it's a really exciting tournament to be a part of. But if we could have a Test match in each series as well, that would be pretty exciting.
"Batting is one of the most mentally challenging things that I've ever done. You've just got to get over those mental hurdles that you can create in your own mind, and once you do that you have more success"
I still wonder why it's not five days. It's a bit like women's tennis where they play three sets in grand slams, and I think it's a bit traditional, that maybe women couldn't handle five sets or five days is too long, but I think why not have a five-day Test match? Other than that, probably an IPL would be the one addition I'd just love to be a part of, India being so fanatical about cricket, and promoting the game over here and showing T20 cricket off would be pretty special.
Yeah, it hurts a little bit to look back at the World Cups. I was a part of all three; that was really disappointing. We took a hard look at ourselves after that. No one was really professional at that time. We had a pretty strong team in both T20s and one-dayers and we just couldn't stand up in the finals; we didn't perform. After that I don't really know what to put it down to. We just haven't been consistent and that's not an excuse, but we have had a lot of changes since Gary Stead, he was there for four years and that's when we made some finals, and since then we've had three coaches, which, like I said, is not an excuse, but it made it difficult to have consistency and the players that have been picked, players feeling comfortable in their positions… I guess they've looked over their shoulders because they've been in favour with one coach but not with another. We created a culture and then a new coach has come in and that coach has different ideas, so it's adapting to that, and I guess it has taken a toll on certain players. As a captain as well it has been tough, and we probably haven't dealt with it as well as we could have as a team, and it's dragged out onto the field, and we've been able to use it as an excuse, which never helps.
I remember the first time I toured here, and I think it was 2007 for a quadrangular series, and we'd talked about the slow, turning wickets. And I just remember every time you got the ball through the field it was four. You didn't have to run. It suited me, you got value for your shots. The wickets do turn a bit more than at home but I feel you should use your feet, which I've always done, and you get on top of the ball and you can take the wicket out of play a little bit.
Yeah, they don't really cross over. Lots of girls play cricket and hockey back home, or cricket and soccer. And with basketball, apart from the fitness side, I think any sport where you're put under pressure, you play in big matches, you have to learn how to deal with the nerves, deal with self-doubt, and I know going to the Olympics  I really thought I didn't belong there. I'd played basketball for New Zealand and here I was playing against the USA and China and the girls I had watched on TV, thinking they were awesome athletes. I had to get over that to compete, so it was all about the mental application of just believing in your ability, and that definitely helps in cricket. Batting is one of the most mentally challenging things that I've ever done, and you've just got to get over those mental hurdles that you can create in your own mind and once you do that you have more success. It doesn't just happen overnight, it's a long process.
This tour going on now before the World T20 is really going to help us, and being able to train in these conditions for a month, the heat, which coming from New Zealand - and Dunedin in particular - is a bit of the shock to the system. We'll just have that extra experience under our belts of playing on Indian wickets so close to the tournament. A number of players haven't been here before; they have now experienced that and hopefully it won't be such a shock or so new to us come the World T20.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo