Emma McLeod was identified at a young age as a potential international. That came true on Tuesday when the Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus top order batter was named in the New Zealand team for next month’s Women’s Under 19 T20 World Cup.
The 16-year-old St Matthew’s student was one of the stars of the recent National Under-19 Championship in Lincoln, near Christchurch, finishing with the most runs, 322 at an average of 64.40, with the highlight being an unbeaten 100 for Central Districts in their win over Canterbury in a one-day fixture.
Wairarapa Cricket female cricket manager Melissa Hansen said McLeod’s talent was obvious from an early age when she played for the St Mary’s-Hadlow combined team that played in the 2017 primary school girls’ national championships.
“Emma played under 15s as a 10-year-old and played for the Korus when she was 13 or 14 and played CD under 21s when she was about 14 or 15, so she has played above her age group from a young age,” Hansen said.
“She’s always been the top player in the age groups, and she was often outperforming the older ones.”
McLeod’s selection again highlights the benefits of a strong female cricket development programme. It follows on from the selection of fellow Koru, Ocean Bartlett, for the recently completed tour of India.
“It doesn’t matter if you live in small Wairarapa, you can still make it, and I think there’s going to be a real big buzz around female cricket, and we’re right behind her, it’s so awesome for her, and she’s definitely put in the work.
“I guess this is a good opportunity for her to cement that pathway in cricket.”
New Zealand will play Ireland, Indonesia, and the West Indies in the World Cup, starting in South Africa on January 14, with the top three from the pool progressing to the Super Six stage.