Pounamu before gold for White Ferns?

By James Perry

The White Ferns were today farewelled as they leave for the T20 Women's World Cup in the West Indies, beginning next weekend.

Each player was presented with a pounamu by the Papatoetoe Under 16 cricket team.

Ngāi Tahu's Suzie Bates, who recently stepped down as captain of the squad, is hoping they can return with a winners medal added to their neck adornments.

"That's the reason we're going and we don't want to leave without that," she says.

The White Ferns with the Papatoetoe U16s women's team who presented their pounamu. Photo/File

Lea Tahuhu, who is also of Ngāi Tahu descent, was taken by surprise when told the team would be presented with the pounamu.  The last pounamu she received was given to her by her parents as she ventured overseas by herself for the first time. 

"It's something that I hold pretty special.  I think this will be right up there as well," the medium-pace bowler says.

Bates felt emotional during the presentation in Auckland after being welcomed by Ngāti Whātua.

"I had bit of a moment up there, it was pretty surreal."

The 2015 T20 International Women's Player of the Year says as a whole it was a special time for the team. 

"the meaning behind the pounamu- going to a world cup and realising it means so much more than just a game of cricket."

The T20 Cricket World Cup, held in Guyana, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, will see the White Ferns play Australia, India, Pakistan and Ireland in pool play. 

There is an air of belief among the squad that they could wn their first T20 Women's World Cup. 

Having played Australia recently without great success Tahuhu says if they "play the style of cricket we want to implement we should be successful." 

Bates says it is important that the team gets off to great start in their opener against India.

"India are sort of the unknown.  They've got a really star-studded line up and in those conditions it could really suit their spinners."

The tournament begins on the 9th of November with the final on the 24th of November.