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Lauren Down returns to NZ team for England tour

Lauren Down has rejoined the New Zealand women’s team after taking a hiatus from cricket to become a first-time mother. Down, who last participated in the T20 World Cup in February 2023, has been named to the one-day squad for New Zealand’s forthcoming tour of England. Mikaela Greig has been included in the squad for both the ODI and T20I games, while pacer Molly Penfold, who performed well against England A earlier this year, is also included in both formats.

In the interim, Rosemary Mair, a fast bowler, has been excluded from the series as a result of a back issue that had previously resulted in her exclusion from the ODI series against England in April. Also, Hayley Jensen was not taken into account for the selection process due to her ongoing rehabilitation for a calf injury. Lea Tahuhu, who will be in New Zealand for the birth of her second child, will be included in the T20I series squad.

New Zealand’s squad includes Sophie Devine (captain), Suzie Bates, Eden Carson, Lauren Down (ODIs), Izzy Gaze (wicketkeeper), Maddy Green, Mikaela Greig, Brooke Halliday, Fran Jonas, Leigh Kasperek (T20Is), Jess Kerr, Melie Kerr, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, and Lea Tahuhu (for T20Is).

Head coach Ben Sawyer expressed his enthusiasm for Lauren’s return to the WHITE FERNS. “She has been diligently striving for the past four months to achieve a level of confidence in her ability to play, and this tour appears to be the ideal opportunity to reintegrate her into the team.” Each series presents an opportunity to evaluate the composition of our most effective playing XI. Given the impending T20 and One Day World Cups, it will be beneficial to determine the potential roles for Lauren and Mikaela.

“The players have been training incredibly hard for the past six weeks, and we have been ensuring that we have completed all necessary tasks in order to prepare.” Although we did not achieve the desired outcomes when we confronted England at home, we did witness courageous performances from a variety of players, which was extremely encouraging. Anytime you face a world-class team such as England in their own territory, it will be a challenge. However, we have established ourselves in the most favorable position to achieve success as a result of the diligent effort that has been invested,” stated Sawyer.

The ODI phase of the series commences in late June. The three 50-over matches will be contested in Durham, Worcester, and Bristol on June 26, June 30, and July 3, respectively. This will be followed by five T20Is: July 6 (Southampton), July 9 (Hove), July 11 (Canterbury), July 13 (The Oval), and July 17 (Lord’s).

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