Bates sees positives for White Ferns

Suzie Bates: ‘‘I’ve also learnt with age you have to take each day at a time and then see where...
Suzie Bates: ‘‘I’ve also learnt with age you have to take each day at a time and then see where you are.’’ PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
The White Ferns have been scrambling uphill through loose stone for the past three years.

A tiny step forward has typically been preceded or followed by a much bigger slip back down the slope.

The recent tour of England delivered yet more frustration.

The home side clinched a 4-1 one-day international series win with a massive 203-run in the final game.

It is a result that seemingly leaves the White Ferns with plenty of ground to cover before the end of the summer when New Zealand hosts the Women’s World Cup.

But veteran White Ferns and Otago batter Suzie Bates is one of those players who can help break through the fog.

The 34-year-old sat out last summer with a shoulder injury and is still searching for her best form.

But she is feeling good about her game and has seen signs the White Ferns are making improvements.

"I guess with not playing last summer, it is hard to have a really accurate viewpoint," she said.

"But I felt like apart from the first T20 [the White Ferns lost the twenty20 series 2-1] and the last one-dayer, we competed much better for longer periods of time than we did over the home summer.

"I think there was some games we could have, should have won, so that is disappointing because we have to learn how to get over the line.

"But there have definitely been some improvements, particularly in the bowling attack and I think in the fielding unit.

"In the batting, there is still some inconsistency, but they are a quality bowling attack."

The series defeat highlighted several areas where the White Ferns will need to make further improvements.

"We’ll need to work on the variations with the ball at the back end of games and be more clinical at the death. And with the bat, the focus is on building bigger partnerships, and for someone in the top five to bat through."

As far as her own form is concerned, Bates did not get the big score she was hoping for and found ways to get out.

But she was pleased she was able to get through the T20 and ODI series fit and well and felt like her technique was solid.

Most importantly, the hunger is still keen.

She has played 255 internationals and not one of them has been in Dunedin.

"I try not to talk about it because it seems like it is not meant to be.

"But all going to plan I’ll play here during the World Cup and that will be very exciting.

"It has always been a goal to win a World Cup and I’ve come close in finals three times.

"To be able to do it at home would be the icing on the cake for what has been a very exciting and long career.

"It is nice this has come at the back end of may career and I’m fit and ready to play in it. It will be a highlight.

"It has helped keep me motivated through rehab."

Bates has to fend off the odd retirement question these days.

But it is not something she has been thinking about at all.

She has not played much during the past two years due to Covid-19 and injury and "people know how desperate I am to get back out there".

"I’ve also learnt with age you have to take each day at a time and then see where you are.

"I’m still loving it, still motivated to train and tour.

"I can’t see the end being too near."

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