Suzie Bates has been appointed Southern Vipers captain for this year’s Kia Super League.

Bates will play for the Southern Vipers for a third consecutive year and the New Zealand captain and former Wisden Women’s Cricketer of the Year replaces Charlotte Edwards as captain.

She said: “I’m very excited to be returning to the Vipers. I’ve loved the last two seasons with a great group of people and am looking forward to leading a very talented side.”

Bates, 30, and has also been a key contributor to the Vipers throughout the last two KSL campaigns.

She made 492 runs at 61.50, whilst also picking up 17 scalps at 12.88 apiece, as the Vipers won the inaugural competition in 2016 before reaching last year’s final.

Southern Vipers Manager, Bob Parks said: “I am delighted Suzie has agreed to play for the Vipers again. Her experience, skill and enthusiasm has been invaluable and instrumental to our success.

“There is little doubt, she will lead from the front!”

All six KSL teams will play each other home and away for the first time this year, playing ten matches rather than five in the battle to reach Finals Day. The competition begins on July 22.