'Complete' game will give White Ferns prize
White Ferns coach Katrina Keenan is seeking the elusive "complete performance" as the New Zealand women's cricket team begin the final phase of their one-day World Cup buildup in Melbourne today.
Intriguingly, the Ferns and Australia clash in three Twenty20 matches this week, including today's double-header at Junction Oval, before flying on to India for the 50-over World Cup, which starts next week.
New Zealand will play two 50-over warmup matches when they get to Mumbai - against Sri Lanka and England - but for now they will hone their skills in the shortest form of the game.
There are two matches against the Southern Stars today with the third T20 on Thursday, also in Melbourne.
Keenan is not bothered about the format; she just wants to see consistent performances and execution of basic skills.
"In the past we've shown that we can do that at various stages of the game but we require complete performances.
"It's definitely something we are working on," she said.
"There's very little separating the top teams at this level, so it's very much going to be about sticking to our game plan and our strengths and how people cope with the pressure.
"We believe we can compete and win at the World Cup."
Keenan, a former opening bowler, has been in the job only a couple of months after succeeding Gary Stead, who has taken over the reins of the Canterbury men's team.
A member of the World Cup-winning team of 2000, Keenan knows what it takes to win and said she believed the current crop had the ability, despite playing second fiddle to Australia and England in recent years.
"It's been a very quick transition for me," she said. "I've only been in the role for a short amount of time but my coaching philosophy is based around communication, clarity of roles and instilling confidence in people.
"The team is coming together well and I truly believe we can win the World Cup."
New Zealand are buoyed by the return from a foot injury of all-rounder and double cricket-hockey international Sophie Devine, a key figure in their World Cup hopes. Devine marked her return by blasting 83 from 54 balls as Wellington beat Canterbury in the domestic T20 final in Rangiora last weekend.
AT A GLANCE
White Ferns squad: Suzie Bates (captain), Kate Broadmore, Nicola Browne, Rachel Candy, Natalie Dodd, Lucy Doolan, Sophie Devine, Sara McGlashan, Frances Mackay, Morna Nielsen, Katie Perkins, Rachel Priest, Sian Ruck, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu.