Having teamed up with Devine at the Strikers for the better part of three seasons, Bates will have to find a new 'Smash Sister' for Adelaide at the top of the order. While admitting that the power of Devine will be hard to replace, Bates said that the Strikers have enough batters in their line-up with the ability to take up any role. She pointed to the likes of Laura Wolvaardt and Stafanie Taylor as players capable of batting anywhere in the order, adding that it is likely that Tahlia McGrath will slot into the opening position that was left vacant by Devine.
"As soon as we knew she (Devine) was leaving, we knew there was going to be a big hole there, but I think Tahlia McGrath has already made opener, so fingers crossed she will get an opportunity up there," said Bates. "We've got a young player in Annie O'Neal coming through who can bat up the top of the order. Laura Wolvaardt and Stafanie Taylor can sort of bat anywhere in the middle order, but they've also opened in the past too, so we've got a lot of flexibility," Bates explained.
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With the ball, Megan Schutt has been Strikers' premier bowler since the start of the competition five years ago. The right-arm seamer is the club's join-highest wicket-taker alongside leg-spinner Amanda Wellington, with 63 scalps to her name. Bates said, that with Devine's departure, it will be important for someone like McGrath or young Darcie Brown - who has been bowling very quick in the nets - to step up and support the likes of Schutt and Sarah Coyte.
"Our seam attack has always been strong with Schutt and Coyte leading that and Tahlia McGrath as well. With Soph's departure, a few of the seamers are going to have to step up like Tahlia and Darcy."
"Also, adding Maddie Penna with Amanda Wellington is going to be handy, potentially on some slower wickets later in the tournament."
With 59 matches to be played over the course of five weeks, the former Kiwi skipper the condensed nature of the tournament means that teams that are able to "hit the ground running" will set themselves up for a good season.
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"That's going to be the challenge for everyone. You've got overseas players coming in - coming off quarantine - who haven't played a lot of cricket and done a lot of training, so I guess the teams that can get them into the swing of things as soon as possible (will do well). And I guess as well the local Australian players who haven't played international cricket - it's been a long time between innings - so I think the teams that can hit the ground running and just get settled into their units and their batting orders... If they manage that at the start of the tournament, (it) is going to really set things up in the back end."
Strikers will play two warm-up matches against Melbourne Stars (on Thursday) and Hobart Hurricanes (on Friday) before kicking off their campaign proper against the Tasmania-based team on Sunday (October 25).