NEW captain Suzie Bates is looking forward to playing a lead role as Southern Vipers target success.
The south-coast team have recruited Bates for a third year with the club and she has been appointed skipper ahead of the 2018 Kia Super League campaign.
The New Zealand captain and former Wisden Women’s Cricketer of the Year will take on the role after the retirement of former captain Charlotte Edwards last year.
She said: ‘I am very excited to be returning to the Vipers for the 2018 season.
‘I have loved the past two seasons with a great group of people and I am looking forward to having the opportunity of leading a very talented side.’
The 30-year-old is one of the power hitters of the women’s game, having made her international debut more than a decade ago,.
She has been an instrumental part of the national side throughout her career, totalling more than 3,800 runs at an average of 41.83, while also claiming 74 wickets at 33 runs apiece in 107 ODI fixtures.
Bates has also been a key contributor to the Vipers throughout the last two KSL campaigns.
The right-hander totalled 492 runs at an average of 61.50, while also picking up 17 wickets at an average of just 12.88, helping the Vipers to victory in the inaugural competition in 2016 before reaching a second consecutive final last year.
Southern Vipers manager, Bob Parks said: ‘I am delighted Suzie has agreed to play for the Vipers again in 2018.
‘Her experience, skill and enthusiasm has been invaluable to us and has been instrumental in the success of the Vipers since we started.
‘Even better, she has agreed to fill the sizeable boots of Charlotte Edwards and will now captain the side for the first time. There is little doubt, she will lead from the front!’
After the success of the first two KSL seasons, all six teams, including the Ageas Bowl-based Southern Vipers, will play each other home and away for the first time in 2018. Each team will play 10 matches rather than five.
Tickets for the Ageas Bowl’s Southern Vipers matches can be purchased on the Ageas Bowl website.