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NZ vs ENG: “I’m Excited About Where This Group Can Go”- Sophie Devine

As the summer cricketing saga unfolds between New Zealand and England, it’s been a test of resilience for the Kiwis. With the T20I series slipping from their grasp, 4-1 and the ongoing ODI series presenting its own set of challenges as they trail 0-2, the spotlight is on the team’s spirits and aspirations. In the discussion, Sophie Devine, the stalwart of New Zealand cricket, sheds light on their journey, the hurdles, and the hopes that propel them forward.

Speaking on her injury and subsequent return, the White Ferns skipper shared, “I think people on the sideline are probably more excited to get me out of the changing rooms and whatnot, but, look, been really excited to get back. Obviously, it’s been a bit of a slow process, unfortunately, but probably just taking a cautious approach with it, with obviously a massive winter coming up. So, yeah, look, chuffed to get back out there with the team, knowing that they’ve done some really good things out on the park, and hopefully we can finish this summer on a win.”

Sophie Devine’s return from injury symbolizes not just a player’s resilience but also the team’s collective spirit to push forward despite setbacks. The slow process of recovery echoes the meticulous approach the team adopts towards their challenges, understanding the significance of each player’s contribution in the broader narrative of success.

While the results might not be in their favour, Devine stresses the importance of acknowledging the silver linings within the storm clouds.

“I think it’s really important that you do take look at a bigger picture, look at it, in terms of not just the results. Some of the performances we’ve seen, particularly from some of the young guns that are coming through, I thought Izzy Gaze was outstanding. We’ve seen her grow in confidence game on game. The likes of Brooke Halliday have been awesome as well. We’ve seen her consistently scoring runs, which I think is really important to build that confidence.”

The White Ferns will look to make a strong comeback [Image: Getty]
The White Ferns will look to make a strong comeback [Image: Getty]
She further added, “And then we’ve had people chipping, and you’ve got Fran Jonas, and you’ve got the big dogs, and Suzie (Bates) and Mellie (Amelia Kerr) as well, chipping away. So I think that really builds a good vibe within the group, knowing that we’re slowly getting, you know, moving in the right direction, and we’re putting ourselves in winning positions. It’s just now how about we capitalise on those moments.”

In defeat, they find seeds of victory, recognizing the individual brilliance that collectively forms the backbone of their team. It’s about nurturing talent, building confidence, and learning from each outing, regardless of the outcome.

Squaring off against quality sides can be a challenge and Sophie Devine said, “We know with these, you know, these best sides that we’re going to have to try and skittle them. And for this group to take wickets regularly, I think it’s something that we speak about at length as a group to make sure that we’re putting pressure on these sides. So knowing that the group can do that and that different people have been standing up as well, is really pleasing, because you know, we’re going to have to have the whole squad to contribute and to step up when we need to.”

“We’ve put ourselves in winning positions throughout both the ODI and the T20 series” – Sophie Devine

The conversations within the group reverberate with determination and strategic foresight and making the most of moments. Delving deeper, the skipper, Sophie Devine shared, “We’ve put ourselves in winning positions throughout both the ODI and the T20 series. It’s just about capitalising on those wee moments in the game. England are a world-class team, but we know that when we put pressure on, they’re like any other team, and can feel that pressure. So for us, it’s just about really putting the foot on the throat. For us, again, as I mentioned, there’s been some really pleasing performances and people stepping up. Now it’s taking it to the next level, I guess, as a group, and making sure that we’re being really clinical in those moments.”

The emphasis on seizing opportunities and maintaining intensity reflects a team hungry for success, unwilling to settle for mediocrity. Despite the challenges, the team’s spirit remains unwavering, fueled by the support of their fans and the prospect of redemption.

Can the White Ferns end on a high? [Image: Getty]
Can the White Ferns end on a high? [Image: Getty]
Reflecting on the same, Sophie Devine said, “It’s obviously been a pretty long summer for a lot of this group, but we always love playing at home and especially playing against the quality side like England. So we’re really motivated to go out and finish on a win. We’ve been close, and we’re certainly putting them under the pump, but it’ll be nice to finish off with a win.”

The roar of the crowd becomes the symphony that orchestrates their performance, driving them towards excellence.

Talking about playing in front of the home crowds, Sophie Devine said, “Yeah, it’s been awesome. We always love playing in front of the Kiwi fans. We know that they get in right behind us, and especially give a bit of a chirp to some of the foreign teams, which is always nice. But just to be able to travel around as well, and I guess continue to ride the wave of women’s sport here in New Zealand, is something that I think is really important. So we know that we’ve got plenty of exciting cricket coming up over the next 12 months, so that support’s going to be really crucial to helping give the team confidence from the public.”

Looking ahead, the challenges loom large, with battles against cricketing giants on the horizon.

Sophie Devine added, “It’s a huge winter for us playing against the top three teams in the world. So we know that we’re going to be really challenged, which is exciting for this group. We’ve seen this summer that we’ve developed and we’ve gone, and that’s going to have to continue. We’ve got a really comprehensive program built over the winter to improve those small margins that we’ve seen throughout the last 12-18 months. So I’m excited about where this group can go. We’ve got a lot of hard work coming up, but we’re looking forward to getting stuck into it.”

The journey continues, fueled by a relentless pursuit of excellence and a collective determination to etch their names in the annals of cricketing history.

For Sophie Devine and her comrades, the road ahead might be arduous, but it’s one they tread with unwavering resolve, for victory awaits those who dare to dream and persevere!

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