Amy satterthwaite and lea tahuhu – a cricketing partnership worthy of attention 7 data recovery key

By mid-way through the game the blondies appear to have the edge, and Tahuhu wants to ram home the advantage. The brunettes are in possession, Satterthwaite has the ball, Tahuhu is determined to get it off her. She corners Satterthwaite, and begins flailing her arms wildly in an attempt to block the outlet pass, before desperately lunging to try to cut off the ball as it is released.

"I’m a very competitive person, so it doesn’t matter who it is — I would be that competitive with absolutely everyone," laughs Tahuhu, who is back to her laid-back self in the more relaxed surroundings of ‘the pavs’ — as the onsite accommodation blocks where the national teams stay when they are in camp are colloquially known.

Satterthwaite’s sublime run of four centuries in the 2016/17 summer, which saw her match Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara’s record run, coincided with a dip in form for Tahuhu, who struggled with consistency over the summer.

Satterthwaite too has endured quiet spells. She was dropped from the team in early 2014 after a poor domestic season for Canterbury.

"Cricket is really unique, it’s not like a really fast-paced game where if you make a mistake, the whistle is blown and you move onto the next play. There is a much more of a spotlight on individual performances and it can be a long day if you didn’t perform well," says White Ferns coach Haidee Tiffen.

As vice-captain, Satterthwaite is faced with another delicate balancing act. She gets a spot at the roundtable alongside captain Suzie Bates and the coaching staff when it comes to selection discussions. It raises the potential for conflict when you must have open and frank conversations about your partner’s form.

"Amy is very professional and she knows that being vice-captain is a special role and she takes that responsibility seriously. With regards to discussion around Lea, the process is exactly the same for what it is for any other player," she says.

Other than a bit of banter from the rest of the team about being an old married couple, Tahuhu doesn’t believe her personal relationship has any impact on the team dynamic. It’s no different, she says, from having a close friend or sibling in the team.

When Tiffen started out in the role three years ago, she was only on a part-time contract. Today she is assisted by former Black Caps Matt Bell and Jacob Oram, the team’s bowling coach. Webb has just come on in a full-time capacity as well, then there’s sports psychologist Rod Corban, who has been brought into assist with the side’s mental preparation.

Seeing the way the women’s game has raced ahead in Australia through proper investment and aggressive marketing has been a revelation to the the Kiwi couple. Often played at family-friendly times, their games attract huge crowds, and a strong television audience.

"They’ve done a really good job of promoting it, running it, selling it — I think the whole kind of package. It’s really taken off and got a lot of publicity and there’s a lot of fans coming out to watch the games and want to get to know players and the interactions have been pretty cool," says Satterthwaite.

The success of the women’s Big Bash prompted some tough conversations about the state of the women’s game back here, culminating in Sarah Beaman’s brutal 2016 review. Beaman, a business consultant and former Auckland cricketer, described how decades of relegating the women’s game to a mere cost centre had seen the numbers of female players spiral into terminal decline.

"I think for us the beauty of it is that some of the things happening around the world have made us look internally and say ‘well what actually is the status of the game in New Zealand’ and I think the positive thing about it is we now have a clear picture of where it’s at and we can now look forward to creating something ourselves to improve it. Whereas if that hadn’t happened, who knows where we would be now?" says Satterthwaite.