Cricket: Sophie Devine standing strong despite calls for axing as White Ferns skipper

Sophie Devine remains defiant, despite calls for her to step down as White Ferns captain.

New Zealand were humbled by England in the recent one-day and T20 series, with Devine struggling to make an impact with the bat.

The destructive batter scored 47 runs across six matches, where the White Ferns won just once.

Former NZ international Kirsty Bond has proposed an overhaul of the leadership group, promoting leg-spinner Amelia Kerr as a replacement for Devine.

New Zealand play Australia in three T20s and three ODIs in the next two weeks - a daunting prospect for a team struggling to re-establish itself as a genuine international force.

On her day, one of the most destructive hitters in the women’s game, Devine is key to the White Ferns success and backs herself to return to form.

"People are entitled to their opinions, aren't they?" Devine says. "I know that inside the group, we're working extremely hard. 

“I know that my performances haven't been up to scratch in the last series, but look, I more than back myself in terms of leading this team at this moment. 

"If that's not to be the case, then I'll leave that to the powers that be."

And the 31-year-old is turning to the Blackcaps, as her side prepares to take on the world's best team.

The NZ men's team are riding a wave of success, after recently qualifying for the World Test Championship final later this year, and have already completed series wins over West Indies, Pakistan and Australia this summer.

The White Ferns and Blackcaps have trained side-by-side in preparation this week and for Devine, it's been a peek behind the curtain into the winning culture and mentality of the Blackcaps.

"It's a great opportunity to see how the Blackcaps inner sanctum go about their work.

"As a team, they've managed a sustained period of success, so any little insights I can glean and take back to the White Ferns camp will be invaluable.

"I've also done short stints with the Silver Ferns and Black Ferns over the past few months, with an eye to developing our own team environment.

"The chance to connect with other elite female athletes is important for our own learning and growth. 

"Both the Silver Ferns and Black Ferns are world champions in their respective codes, so to experience those team environments has been great."

Sunday's series-opener against Australia at Hamilton's Seddon Park immediately follows the Blackcaps v Bangladesh first T20 clash.

For Devine, the exposure of following the men, with the prospect of a full house ample motivation to put in their best performance of the summer. 

"We are motivated and keen to put on a good show for our fans," she says. "To be playing on free-to-air TV on a Sunday night is a big step forward for the women's game. 

"We know thousands of new fans will see us play for the very first time."