COVID-19 has levelled the competition between all, says New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine

Sophie Devine celebrates a half-century. © Getty Images

New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine has stated their two-week quarantine upon reaching Australia as part of ‘small sacrifices’ as they prepare to get back to international action starting September 26. New Zealand are scheduled to play a three-match T20I series against Australia on September 26, 27 and 30 before shifting to 50-overs mode on October 3, 5 and 7.

“We are in a really fortunate position and we’ve got a lot of thanks to give to New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Australia for forging ahead with this tour,” Devine said before boarding their flight to Australia on Wednesday (September 9).

“Everyone’s been chomping at the bit to get back out on the park. We’ve been training hard in the regions so it’s nice to go forward and if that means that we have to be stuck in a hotel room for a couple of weeks then so be it because we’ve got the freedom to go out and do something on the park.”

Both New Zealand and Australia have played their last competitive matches back in March at the T20 World Cup. While Australia went on to win the title, New Zealand were ousted in the group stages. Since then, no international matches took place because of the COVID-19 pandemic before Austria hosted Germany in a five-match T20 series which was the first international series in almost five months.

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Going on a tour with an extended group doesn’t happen often and Devine said she is really excited to spend time with a wider group. “Not often do we get to go away on an overseas tour and have two weeks prep leading into our first game. Often it’s a week max before we head into that. So we’re really excited to be able to spend time as a wider group as well, and it’s not often that you get 17 players there (as well),” she said.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity just to get together and to really start working on those combinations.” She also believed that the pandemic has boosted their chances of winning the Rose Bowl which has been in Australia’s possession since 1999 and has levelled the competition between the two sides.

“The great thing about it is we’ve all sort of been on similar pegging with the lockdown. It’s been slightly different either side of the Tasman but none of us have played cricket for quite a while so it’s a really exciting opportunity for us to go out there and hit the Aussies hard,” she concluded.

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