New Zealand all-rounder Amelia Kerr hopes that her maiden Women's Big Bash League campaign with Brisbane Heat will serve as preparation for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup, also to be held in Australia, next year.
The 19-year-old, who has featured in both games for the Heat so far, is proving to be a superb signing for the Heat this season. In her maiden appearance, she returned figures of 3/8 to set up a 92-run victory for the defending champions in Sydney.
But beyond those numbers, the tournament presents an opportunity to get attuned to Australian conditions ahead of the T20 World Cup next year. Kerr has played just seven international games in Australia so far, scoring 21 runs and picking up eight wickets, and is keen to utilise the tournament to better understand the conditions she may face at the marquee T20 tournament next year.
Having made consecutive finals of the T20 World Cup in 2009 and 2010, New Zealand's recent record at the tournament hasn't been great, underpinned by group-stage exits in 2017 and 2018, and Kerr is keen to restore the past success her team has had. "It’s a disappointing last few World Cups for us and we didn’t perform in the games that mattered," she told cricket.com.au. "Getting to play in the conditions where the T20 World Cup will be, there’s nothing better than that. With seven Kiwis playing in this league, that will be good preparation for us.
"We’ve seen change at Cricket New Zealand and we’ve got new contracts for people [to be] able to be more full-time. So we can work harder and get better at our skills and spend more time together as a team."
I remember watching the White Ferns on TV and from that moment, I knew it was a dream of mine to be a White Fern one day
Despite still being in her teens, Kerr has already represented New Zealand for almost three years, making over 50 international appearances.
In New Zealand's tour of Ireland last year, she had a freak game in Dublin. She first displayed her batting prowess with an incredible 232* – the highest individual score in women's ODI cricket – before picking up 5/17 with her right-arm leg-spin, the eighth-best figures by a New Zealand bowler in women's ODIs.
"I knew from quite a young age that I wanted to play for New Zealand," Kerr said. "I played a lot of sports growing up, but when I was nine, I remember watching the White Ferns on TV and from that moment, I knew it was a dream of mine to be a White Fern one day."
In conversation with ICC during the 2018 Women's T20 World Cup, New Zealand's senior members and support staff raved about two of Kerr's qualities: the variations in her arsenal and the cool head on her shoulders.
Beth Mooney, her Brisbane Heat team-mate, agreed with that analysis. "I’m excited to learn how to pick her wrong’un, and hopefully teach a few of our girls how to pick it as well," she told cricket.com.au.
"She’s got a good head, she’s very mature and has a lot of cricket nous, so I think she’ll be a great addition to our group. It’s really exciting that we’ve got someone like her."