As the 2016 ICC Women’s ODI and T20I Player of the Year, New Zealand captain Suzie Bates is one of the most decorated cricketers on the planet, but what she really wants is a World Cup title. She tells All Out Cricket the White Ferns are shaping up well ahead of the big event this summer.
How much are you looking forward to the World Cup in England this summer and how do you rate New Zealand’s chances?
England’s been the home of cricket for years and you get a lot of people into the grounds. I just think with where the women’s game is at the moment, it’s going to be a really good time to showcase the 50-over game. I think people will really get behind it, so I’ll just be proud to be a female cricketer being a part of such a special tournament. In terms of our chances, the potential is there. Like any country, New Zealand loves winners and our team haven’t won a World Cup yet, but we are at the right age and we are in the best place to do that.
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Have you imagined what it might be like to lift the World Cup trophy at Lord’s?
I think in every World Cup you compete in you have those moments when you wonder what it would feel like to lift the trophy but to do it at Lord’s would be the next level. It’s going to be a massive tournament and a massive lead-up but the team is in a really good place. I’m sure Heather [Knight, England captain] would love to win it at home too so we are going to have some stiff competition.
You played in the inaugural Kia Super League last summer for Southern Vipers and several of your White Ferns teammates took part in the tournament. How beneficial do you think that experience of playing in English conditions will be come the World Cup?
I’d like to think it will help us. The Big Bash and Kia Super League (KSL) have been one of the best things that could have happened for New Zealand. We play domestic cricket which isn’t quite at the standard to prepare players for international level, but now we’ve got these two leagues outside of international cricket where people are being challenged, playing at a high-intensity, and it only breeds confidence if they perform. When you play against the likes of Ellyse Perry and Stafanie Taylor and you perform against them you have the confidence you can do it and, as captain, that’s been the biggest thing I’ve seen it terms of our team’s growth.
How impressed were you with the general standard at the KSL?
I didn’t know what the domestic player standard was like and Lottie [Charlotte Edwards] was perhaps a little concerned about the depth of the Vipers side but some of the young girls came out and whacked it with the bat and played probably better than some of the seasoned pros. It was really impressive.
One of the main aims of the tournament was to bring women’s cricket to a new generation of fans. Do you think it worked in that regard?
Yeah, it was probably the best thing about it. After every game at the Ageas Bowl we went straight to the edge of the boundary and there were young girls and boys wanting signatures. Although the games weren’t on TV there was still a massive following and young girls in particular wanting to play cricket.
Women’s cricket in New Zealand seems to be heading in the right direction too with the announcement last summer that your top players received a 100 per cent pay rise in basic pay?
Yeah, I think that’s to do with England and Australia and the threat that they could earn more in those countries. We’ve got a lot of more senior players in our team who have to choose between their career and cricket, so it’s given New Zealand Cricket a bit of a kick to say we need to do more and they have, so it’s exciting.