Jess Kerr ruled out of Sri Lanka tour due to toe injury

The WHITE FERNS’ upcoming tour to Sri Lanka has hit a setback as Wellington Blaze bowler Jess Kerr has been ruled out due to a broken toe.

Jess Kerr’s unfortunate injury occurred during a training session when she was struck on the toe while batting. The subsequent scan revealed a fracture, necessitating a rehabilitation period of up to six weeks. The timing of her injury, so close to the team’s departure for the Sri Lanka tour, is undoubtedly disappointing for both Kerr and the WHITE FERNS.

Leigh Kasperek to replace Jess Kerr in the upcoming Sri Lanka tour. PC: Getty Images
Leigh Kasperek to replace Jess Kerr in the upcoming Sri Lanka tour. PC: Getty Images

Ben Sawyer, the head coach of the WHITE FERNS, expressed his sympathy for Kerr and her absence from the upcoming tour. “Picking up an injury so close to departure for a tour is always disappointing,” said Sawyer.

“Jess is a key part of our bowling group in both formats and will be missed on what will be a challenging tour.

“Jess has been working really hard over the winter and we were excited to see how she would perform in new conditions for her, but we’re confident she will be back fit and ready for our next challenge after Sri Lanka.”

Kerr will be replaced by her Blaze teammate Leigh Kasperek. Leigh Kasperek’s return to the WHITE FERNS squad marks an exciting development. Her previous experience in international cricket, coupled with her recent success in domestic competitions, makes her a formidable force in the team. With her exceptional performance for the Wellington Blaze, Kasperek has shown her ability to adapt to different conditions and consistently take wickets.

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Kasperek last played for the WHITE FERNS during the 2021 tour to England. The offspinner has an impressive record, having appeared in 39 ODIs and 46 T20Is, taking a total of 140 wickets. She currently ranks as the WHITE FERNS’ second all-time leading T20I wicket-taker.

Kasperek’s outstanding performance for the Wellington Blaze last summer, where she finished as the second leading wicket-taker in both the Dream11 Super Smash and Hallyburton Johnstone Shield, earned her the Wellington Blaze Player of the Season award.

Sawyer highlighted the strength in depth of the WHITE FERNS’ spin bowling stocks, as Kasperek’s recall demonstrates. He acknowledged the competition for spin positions within the team, with players like Fran Jonas and Eden Carson consistently performing well. “Leigh has had a challenging 18 months since the World Cup but has always been a player that has been on our radar,” said Sawyer.

“She’s been kept out of the side given the form of Fran (Jonas) and Eden (Carson) who’ve been performing consistently well and those spin positions have probably been the most hotly contested in our team.

The WHITE FERNS have been fortunate to have a talented pool of spin bowlers, and Kerr’s injury has allowed Leigh Kasperek to make her comeback to the squad. Kasperek’s experience and skill with the ball make her a valuable asset to the team’s spin bowling department. With a total of 140 wickets in ODIs and T20Is, she has proven her effectiveness on the international stage.

“With Leigh, Fran, Eden, and Melie (Kerr) we have strong depth in our spin bowling stocks, and ultimately that’s the level of depth we want to get to in all positions,” said Sawyer.

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Kasperek, who is currently in Scotland, will join the WHITE FERNS squad upon their arrival in Sri Lanka. The team is currently undergoing a training camp at NZC’s High-Performance Centre in Lincoln before departing on Thursday. This camp serves as the last preparation before the team departs for Sri Lanka.

The team’s depth in spin bowling is evident, with Kasperek joining a talented group of bowlers. While Jess Kerr’s injury is an unfortunate setback for the WHITE FERNS, Leigh Kasperek’s return provides an opportunity for her to shine in Sri Lanka.

(Quotes sourced from NZC press release)

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