Showdown on cards for dual international

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012
Sophie Devine
MULTI-TALENTED: Dual international Sophie Devine remains in limbo between cricket and hockey.

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Double international Sophie Devine could be on track for a difficult conversation with New Zealand hockey coach Mark Hager.

A little over a week ago Hager said Devine, a Black Cap international cricketer and Black Stick international hockey player, had "given us a guarantee" to commit after February's cricket World Cup.

Hager said gone were the days where the 23-year-old, who has played 70 cricket internationals and 36 hockey tests, could continue doing both.

"As much as we'd love people to be able to do two sports, it's just you can't really give it 120 per cent. So I think it's crucial that she understands - and she does."

But this week Devine, who spends her time in Wellington where she plays cricket and Christchurch where she plays her hockey, said her options were still open. After returning home from the trans-Tasman Rosebowl series with an injured left foot, Devine said her main focus was recovery and getting to the cricket World Cup in India.

After that?

"Cricket World Cup is my main focus.

"I haven't made any decisions and I don't plan to for a little bit anyway. I've got plenty of options so it's pretty exciting for me."

Devine's not the type to play the sports against each other, she just wants to find a balance.

While Hager might not be impressed with her multi-coding ways, new White Ferns coach Katrina Keenan doesn't mind.

"She's really happy about it," Devine said.

Devine was quick to point out both cricket and hockey "have been really, really wonderful" about playing both sports and that makes an eventual decision that much harder.

With a Commonwealth Games campaign in 2014 to prepare for Devine's likely to spend more time next year focussing on hockey and any major line in the sand could be avoided for another year.

Devine's other passion is getting more women and young girls into sport.

As a double international, she realises there's a responsibility to do what she can to promote sport at a high performance and a participation level among young women.

With women's sport receiving the skinny end of the wedge as far as coverage is concerned, Devine knows getting out there and being an example of how "a normal person like me" can reach the top if they work hard enough can have an affect on young girls.

"I remember watching Mandy Smith and Anna Lawrence who had a fair bit of profile around the 2000 Olympics. And the cricket, I remember the 2000 World Cup which the White Ferns won.

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"Plus we had cricketers come to our school and I've always been a cricket nut so I was obsessed with that.

"And if I can pass on my experiences and talk about what I've been able to do and the places I've been - those are all experiences money can't buy - hopefully that will attract more young girls into sport."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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