Cricket: In-form White Ferns all-rounder Amelia Kerr banking on global Twenty20 circuit experience as World Cup approaches

Three years on from the last Twenty20 World Cup, White Ferns all-rounder Amelia Kerr enters this year's tournament in South Africa as an ace in New Zealand's deck.

At just 22, Kerr will contest her third Twenty20 World Cup, but arguably her first as the Ferns' premier all-rounder.

Extra responsibility with the bat, combined with her usual tricks with the ball, will see Kerr as a key player for coach Ben Sawyer, with more than 100 internationals already under her belt.

Despite playing the last T20 World Cup as a bowler who could bat, Kerr now fits the bill of a genuine all-rounder and will arrive with form on her side.

In this summer's Twenty20 Super Smash, Kerr has scored 244 runs at an average of just under 49, coupled with seven wickets in seven games at an average of 22, and the added burden of captaining Wellington Blaze in the absence of regular skipper Sophie Devine for a chunk of the season.

The nature of the global T20 circuit has also seen Kerr accumulate experience around the world over the past 12 months.

In England, Kerr took nine wickets at an average of 14.88 in six games playing for London Spirit in the Hundred, before taking 21 wickets in 16 games at an average of 19.42 for Brisbane Heat in the women's Big Bash League.

And as the White Ferns departed for South Africa, Kerr hopes the accumulated experience of playing around the world will pay off, when the tournament begins next month.

"This [last] year, I've had a lot of T20 cricket," Kerr said. "I've come off a lot of cricket, which has been nice.

"Getting to play in the Hundred and the women's Big Bash has been awesome. It's quality cricket.

Maddy Green and Amelia Kerr.
Maddy Green and Amelia Kerr. Photo credit: Photosport

"From the last World Cup, I've played a lot of cricket since. That gives you a lot of experience to draw on in times of pressure and all of that.

"Hopefully, I can use some of those experiences to make better decisions on the field."

The White Ferns will arrive at the tournament as a team on the up.

Since failing to reach the semi-finals of their own 50-over World Cup last year, the team have begun to find their feet under new coach Ben Sawyer.

Last August, they claimed bronze at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, defeating hosts England in the third-place playoff, and have since achieved series wins away in the West Indies and at home against Bangladesh.

With the often volatile nature of tournament cricket, the White Ferns fit the bill of dark horses to end their 23-year wait for another world title.

"It's exciting," continued Kerr. "With World Cups, each game is so important, each game is almost a final.

"We've played really well over this past year - I think the Comm Games gives us confidence too. It's pretty similar to a World Cup.

"We're looking forward to getting over there."

The White Ferns will also field a newlook squad, compared to the one that travelled to Australia three years ago. Just eight of the 15 players selected attended the last tournament, but Kerr backs the experienced core to lead the way.

"It feels like a long time ago now," she said. "The team is completely different.

"There's a core that's stayed the same, but there's a lot of new faces. 

Amelia Kerr.
Amelia Kerr. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I think we've improved a lot over these last few years, all around, including athleticism and everything.

"I think each player's just more experienced, and we're all getting better each year with the resources and training opportunities we've had. 

"I'd say we're more well-prepared, but that's probably also the same for every other country too."

The White Ferns begin their Twenty20 World Cup against Australia on February 11, and also face hosts South Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.