Denied central contract, all-rounder Lea Tahuhu back in New Zealand frame ahead of Commonwealth Games

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Auckland: Denied central contract, all-rounder Lea Tahuhu back in New Zealand frame ahead of Commonwealth Games. With less than a month to go for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has brought in 31-year-old bowling stalwart Lea Tahuhu alongside young right-arm pace bowler Claudia Green as replacements for Lauren Down and Jess Kerr, who have both been ruled out for the quadrennial games.

While Down has withdrawn from the squad in order to prioritise her well-being and will take a break from cricket, Kerr’s injury from the end of their Women’s Cricket World Cup campaign will sideline her for the Games. The quick bowler is on target to return for New Zealand’s tour of the West Indies in September, while Down will make her return when she feels appropriate, according to ICC

Tahuhu’s return to the White Ferns’ squad gives her professional career a fresh lease of life after her international future was in doubt following her not being included/denied in the central contract list last month.

On Friday, new women’s head coach Ben Sawyer cited the bowling all-rounder’s batting ability as the reason for her return to the side.

“Lea offers genuine pace and bounce with the ball and her ability with the bat gives us options. Lea is a familiar face so will be able to hit the ground running at training camp next week,” said Sawyer.

Yet to receive an international cap, Green has been around the White Ferns group, and was a touring member on their trip to England last year. Touted as a like-for-like replacement for Kerr, Sawyer feels her ability to move the ball in the air could prove to be a valuable asset in the side’s campaign.

“Claudia has a similar skill-set to Jess so fits nicely into the squad make-up. Her ability to swing the ball is an exciting aspect of her game and we look forward to having her on tour in England.”

The side will convene in Lincoln for a training camp next week, before departing for England on July 12 for warm-up fixtures ahead of Birmingham 2022.

–IANS

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