Suzie Bates urges cricket to get smarter with its planning

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New Zealand clinch the series in a thriller against India

Suzie Bates in action. ©Getty Images

Suzie Bates, New Zealand allrounder, believes cricket needs to take a hard look and get smarter with its investments and plans going forward once they return to action. Routines came to a standstill owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Women's T20 World Cup 2020 was the last major tournament that was held.

“We are going to have to be smarter with how we invest in both men’s and women’s programs and consider reducing domestic and international travel when it’s not always necessary,” she told Sportstar. “There may need to be more tournament-style play to reduce travel and have international series in one city.”

Bates is positive that New Zealand is in a good place to host the Women's Cricket World Cup, scheduled to start in February next year.

“I am trying to remain as positive as possible and planning as if the tournament will go ahead as scheduled,” she said.

“New Zealand is in a good place to host the tournament at this stage and there may need to be some level of quarantine for the other countries participating but as a team we will plan as if it will go ahead and wait until we hear anything different from the ICC and the Government. Reducing the venues may be a viable option to ensure the tournament can be held.”

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The ICC came up with guidelines for resumption of the sport in the wake of the pandemic, which had recommendations for social distancing measures and ban on the use of saliva, among others. Bates said that it will be tough to enforce them during the game.

“I think it’s going to be difficult to enforce those guidelines in the heat of the battle. I think the ‘no use of saliva on the ball’ rule will impact the red ball game more than the white ball and with only one red ball game every now and then between Australia and England women in the Women’s Ashes, I don’t think it will impact us as much.”

Bates, who is New Zealand's leading run-scorer in white ball cricket, was impressed with India's ability to produce class batters, though she refrained from comparing players across generations.

“I did not play a lot against Anjum but have played plenty of cricket against Mithali. She was in a class of her own with the bat for a long time in the Indian team and Anjum was a world-class batter also,” she said.

“It is very exciting for Indian women’s cricket to see the depth and talent coming through and T20 cricket encouraging an aggressive style of play with the likes of Smriti, Jemimah and Harmanpreet (Kaur) leading the way. The future of Indian women’s cricket looks very bright as we have seen with the emergence of Shafali Verma at the Women’s World Cup recently.”