Leigh Kasperek has been omitted from the New Zealand squad for the Cricket World Cup 2022 at home. 17-year-old left-arm spinner Fran Jonas has earned her maiden call up to the global event and is the only player without a central contract in the side. The same 15 members will also feature in the series against India that’s scheduled to start at John Davies Oval in Queenstown from February 9.
Kasperek, who has 65 wickets from 39 ODIs at an average of 19.43, was part of the side during the World Cup 2017 in England and has taken most number of wickets for New Zealand since then with 42 scalps to her name. She was also leading wicket taker in the recently concluded Super Smash 2021-22 when Wellington Blaze won their seventh title.
“We feel we have a balanced squad providing multiple options with bat and ball to cover the range of conditions we’re likely to face around the country,” Bob Carter, head coach, said. “Naturally, there were some tough decisions and no doubt some disappointed players but as a selection group we felt this mix would give us the best chance.”
Young Jonas has featured in two ODIs so far and will look to shore up the hosts’ spin attack with Amelia Kerr also returning to the side having missed the England tour for her mental well-being.
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Carter congratulated the selected 15 and said: “There’s a strong mix of youth and experience in this squad with several players having multiple World Cups under their belt. We also have a younger group coming through, six of which are yet to experience World Cup cricket - and it’s naturally a very exciting time for those players.”
The experienced trio of Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite will once again form the core of the side along with pacer Leah Tahuhu and Amelia. Swing bowler Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair and Hannah Rowe will round off the pace bowling attack. Experienced Katey Martin will take up the gloves and there is no reserve wicket-keeper in the line-up with contracted Jess McFadyen not finding a place in the squad.
“It doesn’t get much better than competing at a World Cup in your home country and I know the entire team and support staff are really excited by the prospect. We feel we have a balanced squad providing multiple options with bat and ball to cover the range of conditions we’re likely to face around the country,” Carter added.
“It’s been a pleasure working with this group for an extended period of time. We’ve had this pinnacle event on our radar for a while and I know the whole squad has put in a lot of work to get to this point. We feel we have the best 15 players in the country and are ready for the challenge ahead.”
New Zealand will face West Indies on March 4 n a day-night fixture at Tauranga’s Bay Oval to kick off tournament. The final of the event will be played on April 3 at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Frances Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu