Hockey helped me hit towering sixes, says Sophie Devine, urging young athletes to take up multiple sports

Sophie Devine in action. © Getty Images

New Zealand captain Sophie Devine has said that her hockey skills have played a part in her hitting huge towering sixes and has urged young athletes to play various sports in order to imbibe different skills needed.

Devine had a stellar 2019-20, where she was part of Wellington Blaze’s winning team in the Super Smash, runners-up with the Adelaide Strikers in the Women’s Big Bash League and also at the international stage, where she had a record six successive fifty-plus scores. She also hit the most sixes in the Super Smash – 25 – and the next best was Jess Watkin’s nine.

“I think hockey does play a certain role in it,” Devine told New Zealand men’s allrounder, Jimmy Neesham in the podcast A Neesh Audience.

“Earlier when I used to play both at the same time, I used to get massive complaints from my cricket coach to just stop the dirty hockey swing and when I was going back to the hockey, “What’s that cricket shot-like, c’mon!” It definitely has helped in some shape or form but it’s a massive part of my development as an athlete.”

“I encourage any athlete to play as many sports as possible, because there are so many skills to learn from various sports. We’ve seen Suzie Bates play basketball as well.”

Devine, who is currently in Perth due to the lockdown, will be returning back to New Zealand in a week or so and said the T20 World Cup 2020 final was a surreal experience. She was one of the 86,174 watching at the venue.

Sophie Devine in action for Wellington. © Getty Images

Sophie Devine in action for Wellington. © Getty Images

The 30-year-old hoped that this break would help her start afresh with renewed energy.

“I think we’ve been fortunate that we don’t have quite the hectic schedule that the boys have had over the last 10 years,” she said.

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“The female game is heading that way though, which is really exciting. We were starting to get into a rhythm of playing regular cricket, whether it was in New Zealand or Australia or England. Now to have a bit of a break has been a really good chance to step back and go back to basics, which sometimes as professional cricketers we neglect.”

However, despite being in Perth, she said she loved turning up for the Strikers in the WBBL.

“I love playing for the Strikers, I’ve been really fortunate to have played there for the last five years now,” she asserted.

“It’s crazy to think about how far the tournament has progressed. Last year was awesome, not just for me personally but for the team as well. It is the best domestic competition going around without a doubt. The standard of the women’s game over here with overseas players is certainly a fantastic product to sell.”

Devine, who was named the captain of the Kiwi side with Amy Satterthwaite as her deputy, said that the focus will all be about the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup once she resumes training.

“Having known about it for a couple of years now, it’s certainly a really special occasion,” the allrounder said.

“For any athlete to get the chance to play a World Cup at home is so special. I know the whole White Ferns group, and any cricketer in New Zealand, are really looking forward to the World Cup.”

“It feels a wee way away yet, but it’s certainly something I’ll keep remembering when I’m doing those horrific runs in the rain and cold and wind. I’ll be thinking about how it’s going to help me in the World Cup at home.”

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