Wed, Jan 5, 2022 6:44 AM

White Ferns coming to town

The White Ferns will be in Nelson for the first time since 2016 this summer. Photo: Supplied

Jonty Dine

It’s taken five years to get them back, but the White Ferns will grace Saxton Oval once again in Nelson this summer.

After a long time between drinks, international cricket is returning to the region with back-to-back one dayers against India in February.

A showcase of some of the greatest female cricketers on the planet from the world’s second-ranked bowler in Jhulan Goswami to top three batter Mithali Raj.

The matches may also serve as a homecoming for Nelson’s Claudia Green, who will hope to make her White Ferns debut in her own backyard.

“It would be a very special moment for me if I was to be selected for the India series and knowing that the White Ferns have games scheduled in Nelson would make it even more exciting.”

The Ferns have a healthy record at Saxton, having won their only two games at the boutique ground against Pakistan in 2016 by seven and five wickets respectively.

Claudia says it will be an incredibly special feeling representing New Zealand at home, in front of family and friends if she gets the opportunity.

“I believe Nelson is a great place for international cricket. Saxton Oval is a beautiful ground with really good facilities.”

On the back of a tough tour of England, Claudia feels the side is building nicely as it prepares to host the ICC Women’s World Cup.

“The girls are preparing well, we worked really hard over the winter in build-up to the series against England which was good preparation, and we took lots of learnings and confidence from the tour.”

The 23-year-old seamer is gearing up for a busy summer.

“We have regular training camps in between our Central Hinds 50-over competition and Dream11 Super Smash, so it’ll be good for the team having lots of game time under the belt leading into March.”

The five-match White Ferns series will act as a dress rehearsal in preparation for the upcoming World Cup which will be hosted in New Zealand for the first time in 22 years.

“There’s definitely lots of excitement around with it being a home World Cup, with the opportunity for the White Ferns to play in front of Kiwi crowds and family and friends.”

Postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament will be contested through March into early April, providing the headline act of the New Zealand summer and a high-profile end to the season.

“During the last home World Cup, Saxton Oval brought in some good crowds, and it’d be awesome to see some local support when the White Ferns take on India,” says Claudia.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White says he is delighted with the volume and quality of the international cricket to be played over the summer, particularly given the importance of, and the relevance connected to these games.

“The India series is a crucial part of the White Ferns’ World Cup preparations.”

All internationals in New Zealand will be streamed live on Spark Sport, with the White Ferns’ T20 against India also screened live and free-to-air on TVNZ.

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White Ferns vs India

Saxton Oval, Nelson.

Feb 14: 2nd ODI a Saxton Oval, Nelson, 11am.

Feb 16: 3rd ODI at Saxton Oval, Nelson, 11am.