New Zealand has announced their 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2022, and the headline inclusion is that of wicketkeeper-batter Bernadine Bezuidenhout. The 29-year-old Bezuidenhout, who last played for the national team two years ago, has made a successful comeback from RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports), a condition common among female athletes in New Zealand.
Jess McFadyen, who kept the gloves during New Zealand’s recent series against the West Indies, misses out on the tournament, and this is the only change to the White Ferns’ squad. Bezuidenhout has made an impressive return to the game, scoring her second List-A century for Northern Districts and being selected for the New Zealand XI team that played Bangladesh in warm-up 50-over and T20 games in November.
Head coach Ben Sawyer believes that Bezuidenhout’s inclusion in the squad will be a huge boost for the team, as she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise. “For the past seven or eight months, we’ve been looking to establish a brand of cricket which we believe spectators will enjoy and, at the same time, gives us the best possible chance of success in major tournaments. With both the bat in hand and her work behind the stumps, we believe that Bernie will contribute positively to that style of play,” said Sawyer.
13 of the 15 players in New Zealand’s T20 World Cup roster have one-day or T20 World Cup experience. The team, which includes well-known players Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, and Amelia Kerr, will be captained by one of the most experienced players, Sophie Devine, who is currently recovering from a minor foot injury but is expected to return fit for the tournament. With Bezuidenhout back in the mix, the White Ferns will be a formidable force to contend with at the World Cup, which begins on February 10 in South Africa.