White Ferns looking forward to visit of Windies series
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (CMC):
New Zealand Cricket are anxiously anticipating the arrival of West Indies Women, with preparations already under way for the one-day internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 (T20) series starting next March.
The White Ferns host the Caribbean side in three ICC Women's Championship matches from March 4 to 11, before clashing again with the tourists in five T20 Internationals from March 14 to 25.
New Zealand Women head coach, Haidee Tiffen, said the presence of the reigning T20 World champions would be a massive boost.
"If we want to keep up with the elite sides internationally, we have to be playing top cricket on a regular basis and in different conditions," Tiffen said.
"The West Indies will provide a stern challenge across both formats. They aren't the World T20 champions for no reason. They've got plenty of power and have match-winners throughout their line-up.
"There's plenty of new ground being broken in women's cricket in this country. It's an exciting time to be involved."
Like West Indies, New Zealand were one of four sides gaining direct qualification for the 50-overs World Cup in England last July, but finished fifth in the preliminary round to miss out on the semi-finals.
They thrashed West Indies by eight wickets in their group stage contest at Taunton.
Windies Women's last tour of New Zealand three years ago was a disastrous one as they lost every international - swept 3-0 in the ODI series and 4-0 in the five-match T20 series.
NZ cricket chief executive David White said the upcoming tour would also help create the platform for the next Women's World Cup set to be staged here.
"It's widely acknowledged that the standard of women's cricket is the best it's ever been and so we're thrilled to be able to showcase our elite women's players competing on the world stage in our own backyard," he said.
"With the Women's World Cup here in New Zealand in 2021, it's important we start building the momentum behind Suzie Bates and the team."
The first two ODIs will be played at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval on March 4 and 8, with the final match set for Hagley Oval three days later.
Meanwhile, Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui will host the two opening T20s on March 14 and 16, while Pukekura Park in New Plymouth will be the stage for the third and fourth games on March 20 and 22.
The final match is set for Seddon Park in Hamilton on March 25.