‘We can work harder and that’s our job’ – Amelia Kerr expects NZC deal to change the game for women

New Zealand

Amelia Kerr is hoping that with full-time professionals around now, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) will “invest more” in the women’s game.

Under a new five-year master agreement between NZC, the six major cricket associations in the country, and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, women cricketers will earn the same match fees as their male counterparts.

“For a while, we have had half the team full-time professionals, and half balancing cricket and work. To have everyone as full-time professionals allows us to invest more in our cricket and that’s so important,” Kerr said during New Zealand’s camp ahead of the tour of Sri Lanka. “We want to perform and the only way to get better is if we can train every day and put our focus into that.

“It is good to have balance outside of it. Having full-time professional athletes means we can work harder and that’s our job – we turn up every day and that’s what we are meant to do.”

“How many people we were playing in front of was pretty incredible”

Amelia Kerr on the WPL experience

Before that, Kerr had been on the road for large parts. She was part of New Zealand’s bronze-medal finish at the Commonwealth Games last August, which was followed by stints in the Hundred and the WBBL. She also toured West Indies, played Bangladesh at home and then the T20 World Cup in South Africa earlier this year before the WPL.

“I am not one to always take that break, but it was a pretty full-on year last year,” Kerr said. “To be a part of the WPL and playing there and to see how much they love cricket over in India, the crowd… how many people we were playing in front of was pretty incredible and an amazing tournament to be a part of. The passion and love India has and going over there to play cricket is one of the best experiences you will get.”

Kerr picked up 15 wickets at the WPL, the joint-third-highest, and was a key batter in the middle-for Mumbai Indians, led by Harmanpreet Kaur.

“[Having players from other countries as team-mates] is the awesome thing about franchise cricket,” Kerr said. “I was fortunate to have Charlotte Edwards as my [head] coach and we had some overseas pros in the Indian captain [Harmanpreet] and Nat Sciver-Brunt, who is one of the best in the world.

“To play alongside them and to see how they go about their business and how they train and prepare are all valuable learning experiences for me. [It is] also nice to play with a group of different people as well and learn how to connect and gel with not much time before you are into game one.”

Kerr called the WPL “life-changing” and urged players to not judge themselves by the price they were picked for. She gave a peek into how the New Zealand side dealt with the emotions around players getting picked even as some of their key players, veteran Suzie Bates among them, missed out.

“The WPL is a valuable tournament and it’s also life-changing,” she said. “It’s only going to improve women’s cricket around the world. It’s nice to have opportunities around the world to grow your game.

“[You are] happy for others and you have got mates in other teams you are happy for. For people in your group that wanted to be there and that paved the way for so long in the women’s game, it was tough. Everyone here is pretty professional and got along and did well to turn up on that day [against South Africa in the T20 World Cup].

“It’s all quite confronting – your value is determined by someone else and what your worth [is]. At the end of the day, it’s just an opinion and you’ve got to know what you think of yourself as a cricketer. The most important thing is how you are as a person is pretty subjective. It’s someone else’s opinion and doesn’t define you. You can go out there and do your best to prove people wrong.”

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