Anna and Kate Gaging hope to be the first set of identical twins to play for the White Ferns. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Gagings set sights on White Ferns

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They may look identical, but Anna and Kate Gaging have very contrasting roles in their numerous cricket teams.

The 17-year-olds represent no less than five sides as the twins have enjoyed a rapid rise in the sport they took up only five years ago.

The pair hope to make history and become the first set of identical twins to represent the White Ferns.

Anna, an opening bowler and middle order batswoman and Kate, a wicketkeeper who opens or bats at first drop, represent the Wakatu women’s team, Nelson U18s, the Nelson Nixons and Central District’s U18 and U21 sides.

They say it can sometimes be exhausting to keep up with so much cricket.

“We had four tournaments over the summer holidays alone.”

However, their drive to be the best in the world sees them spending hours training together at Ben Cooper Park.

Anna wants to be the fastest female bowler alive while Kate wants to be able to whip the bails off faster than any other woman playing the game.

Anna is currently clocking around 115km/ph and is striving to match it with White Fern Leah Tahuhu, who currently holds the title of fastest female.

“That’s what I aspire to be one day, she recently hit 128 so I want to get to 129.”

Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, Kate has been sharpening her skills keeping wicket to some of the best bowlers in the game including White Ferns Rosemary Mair and Jess Watkins.

Kate says she wants to emulate English keeper Sarah Taylor’s lighting quick stumping ability.

“She’s just as fast as any of the men.”

A genuine all-rounder, Kate also bowls off spin, adding another string to her bow.

The girls say even teammates struggle to tell them apart at times.

“They tend to be a bit lazy in telling us apart and just call us ‘Anna-Kate’.”

A pitfall of the twins’ similarities comes when batting together with a number of partnerships ending in a run out.

“We will often say ‘yes, no’ at the same time. Also, we are both quite stubborn,” says Kate.

Also gifted volleyballers, the pair dropped all other sporting commitments this year to focus on cricket.

The Waimea College students have been competing against men at club level due to a lack of female players.

“Other districts have women’s leagues, but I think playing against the men can be quite beneficial because there is a lot more pace and a few more sixes,” Kate says.

Anna says the women’s game is quite different.

“Women bowl a lot fuller to compensate for lack of pace and they swing it a lot more in my experience.”

Both say they want to make the Central Hinds side this season with the greater goal of becoming White Ferns.

If that dream was to become a reality, they would be the first identical twins to play for the national side.

New Zealand twins Elizabeth and Rose Signal were the first twins to play in a test together at Headingley against England in 1984.