LISTEN: In our podcast, A Neesh Audience, Black Cap Jimmy Neesham talks to playmakers who’ll be part of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand. In this episode, he chats with White Ferns captain Sophie Devine.

Sophie Devine has been on a roll of late. Whether it be in the Women’s Big Bash League, where she’s been voted the Adelaide Strikers MVP for the last two seasons, or for her hometown Wellington Blaze, where she topped the six-hitting charts on the way to a Super Smash three-peat.

She’s just been handed the full-time captaincy for the White Ferns as they prepare for this summer’s ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.

Devine has been around the traps for a while now, but the Covid break has renewed her passion to continue on in her cricketing journey.

“I think we’ve been fortunate that we don’t have quite the hectic schedule that the boys have had over the last 10 years,” she says.  

“The female game is heading that way though, which is really exciting. We were starting to get into a rhythm of playing regular cricket, whether it was in New Zealand or Australia or England.

“Now to have a bit of a break has been a really good chance to step back and go back to basics, which sometimes as professional cricketers we neglect.”

Where Devine took that break will be a surprise to many. A quick end-of-season trip to Perth turned into a three-month experience.

“My partner lives over here and last year I managed to sneak a domestic contract here with West Australia. It’s worked out really well for me, I’m quite familiar with the set-up here at the WACA and the weather is generally a bit better than back home,” she told me while she was still in Perth.

Those benefits won’t be pulling her west from her adopted home in Adelaide anytime soon though.

“I love playing for the Strikers, I’ve been really fortunate to have played there for the last five years now. It’s crazy to think about how far the tournament has progressed,” she says.

“Last year was awesome, not just for me personally but for the team as well. [The WBBL] is the best domestic competition going around without a doubt. The standard of the women’s game over here with overseas players is certainly a fantastic product to sell, and we’re seeing that with the crowd and viewership numbers.”

But there’s one goal that both the WBBL stints and the current training window will be working towards, the Women’s World Cup, approaching quickly in February 2021.

“Oh, absolutely [it’s a massive goal]. Having known about it for a couple of years now, it’s certainly a really special occasion,” Devine says.

“For any athlete to get the chance to play a World Cup at home is so special. I know the whole White Ferns group, and any cricketer in New Zealand, are really looking forward to the World Cup.

“It feels a wee way away yet, but it’s certainly something I’ll keep remembering when I’m doing those horrific runs in the rain and cold and wind. I’ll be thinking about how it’s going to help me in the World Cup at home.”

Jimmy Neesham is a Black Cap cricketer and host of the podcast, A Neesh Audience.

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