We can win the 2021 World Cup by playing fearlessly & confidently, says Amelia Kerr

Amelia Kerr celebrates a wicket. © Getty Images

New Zealand dished out clinical performances against the likes of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh during the group stages of the T20 World Cup. With Australia losing their opening encounter against India, the situation demanded New Zealand to win against either Australia or India to progress into the next stage.

In both the games, New Zealand fielded first and restricted their opponents to gettable totals. India scraped through to 133, while Australia made a more imposing 155. New Zealand fell short by three and four runs respectively. Teen New Zealand allrounder Amelia Kerr feels that if they are able to make that extra leap against these bigger teams, there is a possibility to win the 50-over World Cup at home next year.

“If you want to win the World Cup, you’re going to have to beat the best sides in the world,” Amelia was quoted as saying in ‘A Neesh Audience’ – a podcast hosted by men’s allrounder Jimmy Neesham. “I definitely think from what I’ve learnt, that if we can take into the 2021 World Cup just playing without fear, and backing yourself and backing your own ability and having that buy-in as a team, then we can (win the tournament).”

Growing up, Amelia has always opened the batting for the teams she played for and wants to bat higher up the order in the national setup as well in the future. Out of the 32 ODIs, she has played so far, Amelia has opened the innings only once against Ireland in 2018 taking the world by storm with her 232 not out, which is still the highest ODI score in women’s cricket.

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“Growing up I always opened the batting for the teams I played in, so definitely in the future I want to keep getting up the order and I want to bat as high as possible,” the  19-year-old said. “At the moment I haven’t proven myself against the best teams in the world and taken the opportunities given to me, but definitely right now I’m doing everything I can to get up the order because I want to be a genuine all-rounder in the future.”

Lockdown didn’t dampen those ambitions either. With facilities closed around the country, Kerr and her sister Jess – also a national team player – were confined to their own backyard with their father, ex-Wellington Firebird Robbie Kerr, giving throw-downs.

“I think for me, coming home from that T20 World Cup has inspired me and given me even more motivation to train,” Amelia said. “So just in the backyard with dad, I’ve been getting him to throw me balls every day, so his shoulder’s a bit sore! Also all the fitness work, it’s been a great time to really focus on your fitness and just try to stay injury-free.”

With such a cricket-focused household, one wonders if there’s much going on away from the cricket field, but the multi-talented sisters seem to have that aspect covered as well. In lockdown, Amelia studied online through Massey University and learned guitar, while Jess, a schoolteacher at Tawa Intermediate, was playing the piano. “It’s a bit of a noisy household!” Amelia admitted.