NZ call up teenager

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Wellington 16-year-old Amelia Kerr has been called into the New Zealand White Ferns Twenty20 International squad in Australia after injury has ruled out off-spinner Leigh Kasperek for the remainder of the 2016/17 season.

Kasperek sustained multiple fractures to her left little finger shortly after the toss at the MCG, ahead of the opening Twenty20 International against Australia which the White Ferns lost by 40 runs.

While Kasperek bowled three overs in the tour opener, scans have confirmed she will require surgery on the finger.

The White Ferns are preparing for the crucial second Twenty20 International in Geelong, where Coach Haidee Tiffen said that the only consolation for once again losing the wicket-taking abilities of Kasperek to injury this season was the knowledge that Kerr had already performed well for the team in her debut International Series when brought into the squad against Pakistan earlier this season.

Schoolgirl Kerr joins the team in Australia tonight for what will be her first overseas tour with the Whie Ferns, having taken a stunning 3-16 on debut against Pakistan at Saxton Oval, Nelson in November in the team’s only other Twenty20 of the season.

Kasperek returns home tomorrow, with surgery scheduled for next week. She is expected to recover in time to remain in contention for the White Ferns squad to the ICC Women’s World Cup in England and Wales in June and July.

The 2016/17 season has been a luckless one for the Dunedin 25-year-old who had only just returned to the White Ferns from a broken spinning finger that ruled her out of the season-opening tour of South Africa and subsequent home series against Pakistan.

The former Scotland representative has taken 25 Twenty20 International wickets from just 13 games, including a superb 3 for 13 in a winning performance against Australia in Nagpur at the 2016 ICC World Twenty20.