Bernadine Bezuidenhout has returned to the New Zealand Squad, as she has been recalled by the selection team for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2023.
Bezuidenhout is expected to bring experience and maturity to the team. The player will be back for an international game after a gap of 2 years. As wicketkeeper Jess McFayden is missing out, the 29-year-old is called back to the international side and is apparently the only change in the squad that played Bangladesh in the last month.
Bezuidenhout suffered from RED-S and spent two years away from the field in order to recover from the deficiency. Her return to the international squad has brought in smiles and assurance.
Head coach, Ben Sawyer commented on her return to the team, stating, “For the past seven or eight months we’ve been looking to establish a brand of cricket which we believe spectators will enjoy and, at the same time, gives us the best possible chance of success in major tournaments. With both the bat in hand and her work behind the stumps, we believe that Bernie will contribute positively to that style of play.”
“Bernie has already shown this season what she can do with both bat and gloves, and we think that her previous international experience will stand her in good stead in this World Cup. She has gone on quite a journey to return to cricket this season and we’re really looking forward to welcoming her back into the WHITE FERNS environment,” he further added.
Bezuidenhout made her international debut in 2014 and since then has contributed in nine T20s and nine ODIs for New Zealand, until 2020. Her addition to Sophie Devine led squad, becomes the only change, with familiar faces of Maddy Green, Suzie Bates and Melie Kerr still continuing to be a major part of the team.
Coach Sawyer seems optimistic about the upcoming series and is pleased with the way the preparations have come up so far. He added, “We’re really happy with how the side is shaping up heading into this World Cup. World Cups are always an exciting occasion for any player, especially for those players in our squad who are attending their first.”
“We speak a lot about roles and matchups in our side, and I believe that we have a lot of quality options to cover all that will be thrown up against us in South Africa. I’ve also been pleased with the way the squad have been performing for their teams in the Dream11 Super Smash, and we’re now looking for them to transfer that form on the ground in South Africa. We’re excited to get over there and get started on what will hopefully be a successful campaign.”
Sawyer will be joined in the WHITE FERNS coaching staff by Dean Brownlie (batting coach), Craig Howard (spin bowling coach) and Morne Morkel (tour coach). The White Ferns will depart for their warm-up games against England later this month. The series will be followed by more warm-up matches against West Indies in Cape Town.
The team will depart for South Africa, this Monday.
ICC T20 World Cup Squad: New Zealand
Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Eden Carson, Lauren Down,
Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Melie Kerr, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu