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Feature

Tahuhu raring to play after arrival of baby No. 2

"It just puts things into perspective. You go to the ground and you're completely focused, but you know that it's not everything"

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
05-Jul-2024
Lea Tahuhu finished with a four-wicket haul, Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, 2nd ODI, Galle, June 30, 2023

Lea Tahuhu finished with a four-wicket haul  •  Getty Images

Leaving home to go to work just became even harder for Lea Tahuhu with her newborn son and young daughter back in New Zealand as she joins her team-mates in England for their upcoming T20I series.
But she has already embraced the perspective and positivity left by fellow mum, Lauren Down, who is about to head home with her six-month-old daughter after a 3-0 ODI series defeat.
Tahuhu and her wife, former White Fern Amy Satterthwaite, welcomed son Louie to the world on June 23, a baby brother to four-year-old Grace, with Tahuhu missing the ODI series to be at his birth. Down, meanwhile, departs after scores of 0 and 14 in the last two games of the ODI series, which concluded in Bristol on Wednesday night and marked her return to international cricket after giving birth to daughter Ruby in January.
"It was certainly a tough goodbye," Tahuhu said. "They've all been a little bit tough as Grace has got older, but now with two it was a hard one."
But she felt she was able to prepare well for the five-match series starting in Southampton on Saturday while in Christchurch and was raring to play again. Plus, having enjoyed having Grace around the team previously, she recognised the buzz in the squad after Ruby's presence on tour during the ODIs.
"It just puts things into perspective," said Tahuhu, who was in Bristol during New Zealand's five-wicket defeat in the third and final ODI but didn't play.
"I listened to Lauren Down speak the other day before the game around the same thing and I think it really grounds you. In a way you go to the ground and you're there and you're completely focused on that, but you know that it's not everything, it's not life. There's a lot more going on outside of that and you're able to switch between those two modes of family life and then getting to cricket and doing what you need to then get back home to your family and your support there.
"I just think it creates a really special environment when you've got a baby or a child in the environment and they just put everything into perspective. You might have a bad day, but it's pretty hard to be too grumpy when you've got a six-month-old Ruby on the bus and everyone wants a hold and a cuddle. It's just a really special thing within an environment."
New Zealand's performance in Wednesday's dead rubber was by far their best to date on this tour after they were bowled out for 156 and 141 in the first two games. Amelia Kerr scored a half-century and Sophie Devine 43 to lead an improved batting display, although Lauren Bell's maiden five-wicket haul limited their total to 211 for 8 from 42 overs in a rain-affected match. Nat Sciver-Brunt's unbeaten 76 and Amy Jones's fifty, overhauled the target with 3.2 overs to spare but there was cause for New Zealand to feel buoyant, especially in light of their previous results. And, at one point, England were 33 for 3, thanks to Tahuhu's fellow seamers Hannah Rowe and Molly Penfold.
"We had a few chats on the bus," Tahuhu said "One of the beauties of England is that you travel around on the coach a lot together and you're able to get into small groups and have some conversations. The feeling is really positive even though the one-dayers didn't go as we would've liked.
"There was a lot to take out of that last game, the performance that the girls were able to put up and the resilience and the fight that they showed. We're just looking at being able to go into that T20 competition and play a really aggressive brand and put our best foot forward and we're going to use these games as some preparation for the World Cup, which is only a few months away."
An aggressive approach with bat and ball will be on New Zealand's agenda for the T20Is, as will supporting a relatively inexperienced side around senior players like Kerr, Devine, Suzie Bates and Tahuhu.
"There's no other way to put it, we have got a very young group there and we are, I guess, blooding them on the international stage and that can be quite brutal at times and it has been," Tahuhu said. "But I think the growth that those players are showing, the likes of Georgia Plimmer, she's showing us what she can do, and Izzy Gaze had some fantastic performances back in New Zealand against England. Someone like Molly Penfold, I think, has been fantastic in this ODI series.
"As a senior player, you just want to get around them as much as possible and let them know that we back them and we believe in them, they're in these positions for a reason, it's because we believe that they can do the job and they're finding their footing and starting to show that they can certainly take the game on. I've been incredibly impressed with the way that Molly's performed over this ODI series, so hopefully she'll be able to continue that into the T20s as well."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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