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Amelia Kerr’s return to her happy place

Final years of her teen. It was supposed to be the happiest. Melie was doing everything right. She was rubbing the shoulders with some of the biggest names of the sport while she was becoming one.

She rattled every single team she came across, and from the third person’s perspective, everything was falling in place for the teen. People called her a prodigy. Unfortunately, Mental health doesn’t really leave a scar outside. Nobody knows what the other person is going through.

In Melie’s case, not even her big sister Jessie. Her family, who is also associated with cricket, had zero clue too. Because she seemed happy. She was on top of her game. Lesser did anyone know that cricket was her happy place. She was using it to escape from the things that were happening off the field.

When things outside cricket were looking bad, her Brisbane Heat stint alongside her Wellington, White Ferns teammate and a friend Maddy Green came to her at the right time, at least she thought so. She also thought that she was doing alright and even stopped seeing the therapist.

While Melie was running away from the problem off the field, she was running through the batting order on the field. It seemed all fine until everything came running back, and she called for a mental health break. Her family understood the reality and wrapped their arms around her. She found comfort in her extended family, and Green was always around.

When Melie walked in at number three, New Zealand needed 236 runs from 45 overs. It didn’t seem impossible as Sophie Devine was at the other end.

A couple of overs later, Yastika’s great reflex reaction made Devine walk back. Five deliveries in the next over, New Zealand’s most-capped Amy Satterthwaite had to go and didn’t disturb the scoreboard.

When the win pendulum was swinging swiftly on the side of India, Melie knew it was her job.

“As an allrounder, it’s my job to score runs. I knew if we could form a good partnership at some point in the innings and keep the required rate under six then it was very doable,” Kerr said after the match.

She couldn’t ask for a better person to be on the other side as Green walked in. Now, Green is certainly one of the biggest names in this White Ferns team, but if you simply go by her international numbers, you will not understand what Green brings to the team. As former White Ferns Aimee Watkins said during the commentary, she is a “Mrs-Fix-It”.

She is a team player and is ready for any type of role. White Ferns made her bowl in 2020, in the absence of Leigh Kasperek and she embraced the role. She opened the batting in the first match and then pushed to number five in the second. She was standing at the long-on once, and for the next over, she was at the slips. She is also the reserve wicket-keeper for the upcoming World Cup. And she is up for everything and is always there for the team.

A year ago, Green was out there with Kerr, helping her fix her off-field issues. Maybe, she takes that role very seriously that she decided to stick around this time to help Kerr get back to her “happy place”. Eventually, she did.
She spent 88 minutes and added 128-run with Kerr. When she walked back, she knew Kerr could do it as White Ferns still needed 88 runs off 99. When Halliday and Martin got out after cameos, Kerr turned to Jensen.

She swiftly moved to 96, and in the 47th over, Kerr played a quick sweep which defeated the deep square fielder and went for a boundary.

It was just her second century. It was big. One under pressure. But Kerr chose to stay silent. She acknowledged the teammates and nothing else. On the other side, when all her teammates gave a standing ovation for Kerr, Green was sitting in the back and looked as if she was waiting for more. She clapped a bit, and that was all. Maybe, she wanted her Wellington teammate to finish the job. Kerr probably knew it too. She went back to the business immediately.

When Jensen got out, The team needed 18 off 15 still.

As Jessie walked in, the sisters talked. It was more of Melie doing the talking. Probably, she wanted her big sister to drop everything and run- which she eventually did later on.

Kerr enjoys 'pretty special' ODI century against India
Getty Images

Now, the sisters are athletes. Jessie wanted to be one and was sort of forced into cricket when she was young. It was vice versa for Melie. Still, they both were natural. When the Indian fielders messed up, they stole extra runs, converting those ones to twos with ease.

As they moved to the final delivery of penultimate over, Jessie saw an opening. An outside off short delivery from Harmanpreet made everything easier for the big sister. She slammed the delivery over cover for a boundary.

As the ball went over fielders, the sisters shared a long hug in the middle. It wasn’t a usual one but more of an embrace. A proud sister, welcoming her sibling back home. To the happy place. A place where she belongs.

Of course, the on-field Jessie would have missed her all this while especially, when she had to travel to England all alone. Something, She has never done before. Beginning from Backyard. Napier’s Camp. Tawa College. Wellington Blaze. White Ferns. In that order.

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