I thought that the dream of playing Commonwealth Games was gone: Lea Tahuhu

Lea Tahuhu in action during World Cup 2022 © Getty Images

The White Ferns have began their preparation in full swing ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with a training camp in Christchurch that kicked off on Monday (July 4). The camp sees the comeback of their star pace bowler Lea Tahuhu, who had missed out in earning a central contract and was not included in the initial team for CWG 2022. But as luck would have it, Tahuhu has been called up to the squad along with Claudia Green when Lauren Down (Taking a break for mental well-being) and Jess, who is still recovering from her foot injury, pulled out of the side.

With the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham just a few weeks away, Tahuhu seemed really pumped to be back in the team and mentioned that she was extremely grateful for the opportunity and raring to go.

“It’s brilliant. It was great this morning to come out, walk into the pavilion, and see all the girls again. It’s really nice to be back.

I have been training pretty much for the last six weeks as I knew I was heading over to playing in The Hundred anyway. So thankfully I would be able to hit the ground running.

It’s an absolute honour to anytime be able to pull on the black shirt and it was always a motivation to fight my way back in and to be given that opportunity now is really exciting.”

The 31-year-old admitted that she didn’t envision her comeback happening so quickly and was happy to be back but at the same felt bad for the players who missed out.

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“No, certainly not. I guess other people’s misfortune has given me this opportunity and I certainly feel a lot for the girls. It’s never nice missing out on any tour. So I guess the opportunity has come earlier than anyone would have expected,” Tahuhu added.

The veteran White Fern denied all the talks of being under any sort of pressure to prove her mettle at CWG than ever before in her career. “No, I don’t. To be honest I am really comfortable with where I am at as a player. I have had some really good conversations with Ben (Sawyer) over the last couple of days and I am comfortable coming in. I have played a similar role so not too many changes from that point of view,” she said.

“It’s certainly been a bit of a rollercoaster. I was disappointed to miss out in the first place. I thought that the dream of playing in the Commonwealth Games was gone. So to have that sort of reinstated over the last few days has certainly given me another high and I am just really excited to head over there.”

Ben Sawyer, who took charge as New Zealand head coach recently, expressed his excitement on Tahuhu’s inclusion and said that her presence will provide plenty of balance to the squad.

“Look it’s just about the balance for the side really. So we’ve got four injuries to the contract list, three of which are bowlers and the Lauren Down as well. So, needed to cover the bowling and especially the pace bowling at the moment. So Lea was probably the best option as she has proven herself,” Sawyer said.

“We needed an allrounder and Lea was the best option available. For me, Lea is a competitor and I can obviously say that about a lot of other girls in the group, I am really happy to have her in the group. She typifies New Zealand’s sporting culture in general which is very competitive and always punches above its weight.”