Cricket: Refreshed Sophie Devine ready to reclaim White Ferns captaincy after break

White Ferns star Sophie Devine insists she's refreshed and ready to reclaim the national captaincy, after taking a self-imposed break from cricket.

The 31-year-old left the squad during the Twenty20 international series against Australia in April, citing mental fatigue.

"The fatigue got to a point where I couldn't do, not only my team justice, but myself," says Devine, speaking for the first time since her departure.

"I knew I couldn't do a job. It's the same thing as if I broke my leg or pulled my hamstring - if I can't complete the job to 100 percent, then I need to take a serious look.

"At that stage, I couldn't live up to my role and what I expect.

"I needed to get back to what makes me feel good as a person and having that time away... I really did switch off from everyone and everything, which I needed to do at that time."

After two months away from the game in her "own little bubble" - mostly spent with loved ones and as far away from a cricket pitch as possible - Devine is now raring to retake the reins and lead New Zealand on their September tour to England.

"That's something that's stayed throughout, when I did give myself time to think about it, is I certainly do want to stay in this role," she says of the captaincy.

"Amy [Satterthwaite] did a fantastic job while I was away and that's the great thing about this White Ferns environment - we've got leaders everywhere.

"I certainly want to continue [as captain] and that's the plan moving forward."

Devine has been working with NZ Cricket psychologist Nat Hogg to ensure she has the framework in place to prevent a repeat scenario.

"Especially with COVID-19, it's a pretty tricky and unusual environment we find ourselves in," Devine notes.

"Hopefully it doesn't happen again, but it might and hopefully I'm in a better position to deal with that, if those sort of things do come up."

Athletes' mental wellbeing - particularly among sportswomen - has been a hot topic in recent weeks, after Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the French Open. 

Silver Ferns captain and Ameliaranne Ekenasio, and Black Ferns player Kendra Cocksedge have also spoken about their struggles.

Devine strongly endorses an open dialogue on the matter and encourages her fellow athletes to prioritise their wellbeing.

"[It's] having the confidence to know that they need to look after themselves first and foremost," she says.

"As athletes - and in team sports in particular - we feel like we just have to keep giving and giving and giving, but if we're not looking after ourselves first, then we're no use to anyone.

"I certainly would advise people to speak up, whether that's in public or private."

The White Ferns take on England in the first of three T20 internationals at Chelmsford on September 1.