‘Stand by’ players beef up New Zealand’s presence in WBBL06

(from L-R) Katie Perkins, Rosemary Mair, Holly Huddleston and Lauren Down. © Getty Images

Five New Zealand players have been called into the Women’s Big Bash League ‘hub’ as injury cover for the ‘marquee’ players over the next month. The quartet of Katie Perkins, Lauren Down, Holly Huddleston and Rosemary Mair will join Hayley Jensen who earlier signed with Hobart Hurricanes.

Perkins has been allocated to Adelaide Strikers, Down to Melbourne Renegades, Huddleston to Brisbane Heat and Mair to Perth Scorchers. The players will train alongside their allocated teams and will be available for selection for any side if a marquee player (an overseas or Cricket Australia contracted player) is ruled out of the tournament with an injury.

Ant Sharp, head of women’s high performance at New Zealand Cricket, said that the opportunity presented itself following New Zealand’s tour of Australia which was conducted in a bio-secure bubble in Brisbane. Therefore, none of the selected players would have to undergo an additional quarantine period to enter the hub in Sydney.

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“NZC are committed to supporting our centrally contracted players wherever we can,” said Sharp. “By staying on and being exposed to new training environments, alongside other quality players, they will continue to learn more about their game.”

Mair, who bowled impressively through the series against Australia and proved to be one of New Zealand’s shining lights during that competition, said she was extremely excited by the opportunity.

“We get into Sydney on Monday and I can’t wait to catch up with the Perth Scorchers,” said Mair. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more from the Scorchers set-up and how they go about their cricket. I’ll be looking to glean as much knowledge as I can from the staff and players.”

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“There’s a couple of English internationals in the squad too, so it will be interesting to compare our cricket experiences from different parts of the world. Sophie Devine is the captain of the Scorchers and it will be nice to have a familiar face around the nets, although I’m not so sure about bowling to her in T20 mode.”

The five players will join the likes of Devine (Perth Scorchers), Suzie Bates (Adelaide Strikers), Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu (both Melbourne Renegades), Amelia Kerr and Maddy Green (both Brisbane Heat) who had already signed up for the sixth season of the competition. Recently retired wicketkeeper-batter Rachel Priest is also part of the competition and will turn out for Hobart Hurricanes this season, taking the size of New Zealand’s participating contingent to seven.

The WBBL will get underway with a full round of four matches on Sunday (October 25).