Plimmer silencing the doubters

White Ferns batter Georgia Plimmer has found some good form ahead of the T20 series against...
White Ferns batter Georgia Plimmer has found some good form ahead of the T20 series against Pakistan, which gets under way in Dunedin tomorrow. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
There was a lot of noise made when Georgia Plimmer was first selected in the White Ferns.

She was too young, they said. She had not scored enough runs. There were more experienced and better-equipped players who had missed out. It was all too soon.

But what Plimmer had was a positive attitude, a strong work ethic and undoubted raw ability.

It just needed harnessing. That is where White Ferns batting coach Dean Brownlie came in.

He has been working closely with the 19-year-old and the results are there to see.

The right-handed batter blasted 147 from 139 balls against Northern Districts during a Hallyburton Johnstone Shield game late last month — her maiden list A century.

And a week later she pumped 52 from 35 balls for the New Zealand XI to help them beat Pakistan by 28 runs in a warm-up T20 match.

She has been named in the White Ferns lineup for the T20 series against Pakistan which gets under way in Dunedin tomorrow and we might see one of her trademark cover drives.

She puts her improved form down to an intensive period honing her technique.

"When I first started on the scene I would go out and try and have a bash and see what happens," she said.

"But I’ve been working really hard with my batting coach and focusing on my technique. That has helped me go out there and play my shots with confidence."

Little changes like refining her grip have allowed her to open the face of the bat and access different parts of the ground. She is also getting her backlift up higher so she can get more power into her shots. And her head is not bobbing to one side any more, which means she is more balanced at the crease.

They sound like basics, but Plimmer has had a lot of well-meaning coaches in the past all giving her advice, and she got mixed messages. Being able to work closely with Brownlie, a former Black Caps middle order batter, has created clarity for Plimmer.

She got a good look at the Pakistan team during two recent warm-up games.

"We knew they were pretty spin heavy, but they actually bowled a lot of pace bowlers in the warm-up games," she said.

"They’ve definitely got some good opening bowlers in the attack. Diana Baig really hoops it and they’ve got Fatima Sana, who has some pace behind her.

"Then they’ve got Nida Dar who has been around for so long.

"They bowled with a consistent line and length all the time."

Plimmer’s maiden hundred was a huge confidence boost for the teenager.

"I’ve always been the sort of player to get starts, but was still figuring out that mental battle of how to stay in for more overs.

"That is the biggest thing I’m wanting to work this season is to go on and make big scores."

That statement will please White Ferns coach Ben Sawyer. He told media early in the week what he expects from his players — even the established ones.

"The one thing we’ve asked from all our White Ferns is to go back to HBJ (the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield) and dominate those competitions, and to see her [Plimmer] score 140 [odd] is exactly what we want.

"But more importantly it is a great confidence booster and positive affirmation for her for all the work she is doing."

The White Ferns will be without Melie Kerr for the opening game. She helped the Brisbane Heat reach the final of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). They play the Adelaide Strikers tonight.

International 

T20 series

New Zealand: Suzie Bates, Kate Anderson, Sophie Devine (captain), Maddy Green, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Georgia Plimmer, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold, Eden Carson, Hannah Rowe, Izzy Gaze, Hannah Rowe, Fran Jonas.

Pakistan: Shawaal Zulfiqar, Muneeba Ali, Sadaf Shamas, Omaima Sohail, Nida Dar (captain), Natalia Pervaiz, Fatima Sana, Najiha Alvi, Umm-e-Hani, Diana Baig, Nashra Sandhu, Waheeda Akhtar, Sidra Ameen, Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Ghulam Fatima, Sadia Iqbal.

Record

Played 8, New Zealand won 8

Most runs

Sophie Devine (NZ) 271 at 33.87

Highest score

Suzie Bates (NZ) 94 not out, Sylhet, 2014

Most wickets

Sadia Yousuf (PAK) 10 at 15.00

Best bowling

Nicola Browne (NZ) 4/15, Basseterre, 2010