It was February 2020. Couple of years ago. Suzie Bates was ready to play an international in Dunedin, her home ground, for the first time – a lengthy period of 14 years after she made her international debut. But rain kept pouring in, and the final T20I against South Africa was washed away.
Then, it was February 2021. England were scheduled to play two ODIs in Dunedin. Bates was present there, but only as a broadcaster. She had dislocated her shoulder towards the end of 2020 and was in the recovery process.
Fast forward to now. March 2022. The Women’s World Cup is on. And it was raining in Dunedin on the morning of New Zealand’s game against Bangladesh. For the longest time, the sun was not seen. It was a gloomy morning, accompanied by a drizzle, after a night of heavy rain. It was a really tough morning for Bates. Her family WhatsApp group was full of weather updates, and it was “not helping my mood”, she said after the game.
The rain stopped afterward, and over four hours after the scheduled start of play, the two teams got ready to take the field, in a 27-overs-a-side contest.
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“Yesterday (was a) beautiful, standard day, sort of went to bed thinking that it was going to clear and we just stayed at the hotel. Bob [Carter, head coach] messaged us and told us to sit tight and it was the longest four or five hours at home. I didn’t want to look outside and just really was desperate for us to get a game on.”
“I think they were relieved that they were finally able to watch me play for NZ although they have watched me play for Otago,” Bates said. “It was a strange day. When I got on the field, I was fully focused on doing my best job and hoping the rain stayed away. And then as soon as the innings finished I realised there was a quick turnaround.
“I also knew there would be extra nerves and anxiety around, first and foremost, being at home and just the way the day had panned. So I made sure I got off the field quickly and reset and do the routines I have been doing. As soon as I faced the first ball, I knew I was home and it was a good wicket to bat on.”