The newly named White Ferns captain Sophie Devine has recently said that she is ready to bat anywhere as long as that would help her side win. Notably, she came to bat at number 11 in her debut ODI match against Australia back in 2006.
Since then, her ability to bat anywhere in the line up has helped the team. However, with time, her batting position slowly rose up and she became one of those players who would end up batting in every position from 1-11. However, Sophie Devine believes her experience of batting anywhere in the order has helped with teammates who come down the order as she quite well knows the pressure they face.
“It certainly has helped me gain a great understanding of what is required in the different roles and trying to figure out how my own style of play can be used in any position. It also helps me relate when I’m batting with teammates down the order as I’ve been in their shoes and know the sort of pressures they face. Not too sure where my best position is but as long as it’s helping my team win then I’ll bat anywhere,” Sophie Devine said.
In 91 T20Is, Sophie Devine has scored 2384 runs which came at an average of 31.36 and a strike rate of 126.40. In the 12 games as captain, she has the average as high as 59, while the strike rate went up to 145.08. And the stats speak for herself.
However, it can be said that captaincy is not an extra pressure for her as it brings the best out of her in batting. Not only in batting, but her bowling also holds equal importance for the side. Sophie Devine is the highest wicket-taker in the 12 T20I games where she has led, with 12 wickets at an average of 17.75, a little short of her regular bowling average of 17.10.
However, Sophie Devine believes that she prefers to lead from the front who took the reign from Amy Sattherwaite who was on maternity leave. She led the team to 7 wins in 12 T20Is where White Ferns narrowly missed out on a place in the ICC T20 World Cup semi-finals after a four-run defeat to Australia earlier this year. While she will lead the side permanently from now on, Amy Satterthwaite to be her deputy.
“I’m not too sure if it is the captaincy or not as I’d always want to lead from the front whether I’m captain of the side or not. It certainly helps when you’re performing on the park to motivate and encourage your teammates but I also know that cricket can be a fickle game and form can come and go so it will be how I can support my team and lead from the front in other ways not just with bat in hand,” Sophie Devine shared.
While as a captain, she aims to grow into the role, she believes Amy Satterthwaite’s return to the squad will help her leading the team with her support and knowledge as well.
“I don’t see there being any difference from when I held the role whilst Amy was on maternity leave – the only difference being now I will have even more support and knowledge to lean on with Amy coming back into the squad. Again my approach won’t be any different, as a player you evolve over time and I think that is the same with captaincy. I hope to continue to grow into this role,” Sophie Devine added.
Meanwhile, New Zealand have successfully restricted the COVID-19 pandemic transmission and the squad have started their training as well earlier this week. They are ready to play their first series against Australia in September.