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The young squad has been battling this season, but the return of White Ferns wicketkeeper-batsman Katey Martin will bolster the side’s competitiveness.
The 34-year-old right-hander has been in Australia playing for the Melbourne Stars in the Women’s Big Bash.
But with the Stars eliminated, Martin returns in time for the Sparks’ back-to-back away games against Auckland this weekend.
Martin is the most capped Sparks player of all time with 158 one-day games for the province.
Martin’s value does not stop at her on-field contribution. She is competitive, parochial and vastly experienced.
The latter has been in short supply this season.
The only other change from the side which dropped both matches to Northern Districts in Dunedin last weekend is also significant.
The captain, Bella James, returns after a scheduled break.
Pace bowler Georgia Clarke and legspinner Sophie Oldershaw drop out to make room for Martin and James.
Star all-rounder Suzie Bates continues to be unavailable as her Adelaide Strikers prepare for this weekend’s Women’s Big Bash semifinal against the Perth Scorchers.
The Sparks have loss all three games they have played this season but showed significant improvement in their last outing. Ferns all-rounder Hayley Jensen has been in tremendous touch in her debut season for Otago.
Millie Cowan is another dangerous player for the Sparks. The unorthodox right-hander clubbed 77 from 75 balls in her last innings and can be devastating when she gets in, while Emma Black looks a promising bowler who is probably owed a few wickets.