Swing bowler Jess Kerr has returned from injury as New Zealand named squads for the limited over tour of South Africa on Friday (September 1). Batter Kate Anderson and allrounder Bella Armstrong have earned their maiden call-ups to the side for the eight-match series - comprising of three ODIs and five T20Is - that's scheduled to start with the ODIs from September 24. Armstrong will be part of the 15-member T20I squad where she will replace wicket-keeper Izzy Gaze from the 15 for the ODIs.
With Jess returning, off spinner Leigh Kasperek, who was named as the replacement for the pacer during the Sri Lanka tour, has been omitted from the squad along with Rosemary Mair.
“It’s a real bonus to have Jess back in the squad after injury ruled her out of the Sri Lanka tour,” Ben Sawyer, head coach, said. “She’s got a world-class bowling skill set and is especially effective with her in-swinger, which is proving more and more difficult in the women’s game."
“Jess bookends the innings, especially in a T20 match, as she swings it up front and then bowls an amazing leg cutter at the death.”
Anderson, who plays for Canterbury Magicians in New Zealand domestic cricket, has had a terrific 2022-23 season and was named The Domestic Player of the Year. She has also earned a central contract with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in June this year. She was supposed to travel to Sri Lanka, but couldn't make it to the squad owing to a finger injury.
"Kate had an outstanding domestic season last year and was unfortunate to miss the Sri Lanka tour through injury. We like her power and skills with the bat and we’re looking forward to giving her an opportunity on the international stage," Sawyer said.
23-year-old Armstrong has put in some impressive performances for Auckland Hearts and also in Ireland as a professional player.
“Bella’s an exciting young prospect who hits the ball hard and is an outstanding fielder, so she’s got all the attributes that we want from a White Fern,” Sawyer added. “We’ve got five T20 matches on this tour which is more than we usually get, so it’s a good opportunity for us to look at players who could potentially be part of our future World Cup campaigns.”
The three ODI will be part of the ICC Women's Championship (IWC) for the 2022-25 championship cycle and the series will be important for New Zealand women as they look to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2025 in India.
New Zealand squad: Sophie Devine (C), Kate Anderson, Bella Armstrong (T20I only), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Eden Carson, Izzy Gaze (ODI only), Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Fran Jonas, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu