Four months on from their last match and once again it’s all go for the White Ferns, with preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka well underway.
The tournament which begins in September will be the beginning of an intense summer schedule of cricket for the women’s team.
Despite the break, they will go into the competition ready to deal with the harsh environment that will greet them having been put through a torturous four day training camp last week which nearly took the girls to breaking point.
From making them play in sodden clothes, to early morning sessions of bikram yoga (yoga in 40 degree heat) the players were pushed as far as they could go, as coach Gary Stead sought to test the mental strength of his squad.
White Ferns batsmen Sara McGlashan described it as a good introduction to what they would be facing at the World Cup.
“It was certainly a testing experience. Basically the coaching staff did whatever they could to make us uncomfortable,” McGlashan said.
“As a team it was good for us as it really forced us to keep pushing each other to make sure that we can overcome any obstacles that we might face.
“That’s what it’s going to take to be successful over there."
So far their resolve seems to be hitting the mark. McGlashan said that despite some of the girls being deliriously exhausted, everyone came through better for the experience.
Many of the Christchurch based players are frequent visitors to the High Performance Centre in Lincoln, but those based outside of the region are also at home working hard to be ready.
The next time the group will come together is to travel to Sri Lanka, with 17 players making the trip over as another stage of preparation for the tournament. With many of the team not having any experience on Sri Lanka pitches, the time will be crucial for the players to see what they’ll be playing on when they meet some of the world’s best the following month.
On return the team will be narrowed down to a final selection of 14 for the real thing. Having been put through some fairly unusual techniques to get ready, those who do make it will certainly have had to work hard to deserve it.
The first opportunity to see the benefits of their build-up is September 26th when they face the West Indies in their opening pool match.
Let’s hope those bikram yoga sessions pay off.