Suzie Bates has stepped down as New Zealand women's cricket captain, paving the way for Amy Satterthwaite to take over.

One of the world's best players, Bates was appointed White Ferns captain in December 2011, having made her international debut in March 2006.

Bates, who turns 31 on Sunday, is in-demand around the world. In addition to her national team commitments, she has contracts in England's Kia League and Australia's Big Bash.

She's played 115 ODIs — averaging 43.76 with 10 centuries — and 101 T20 internationals, going at 30.27 with a strike rate of 111. Add in her valuable bowling and she's fit to rank among the games finest. Bates is ranked No 2 T20 batsman and No 7 in the ODI format, and ninth best all-rounder in T20.

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Bates said she'd arrived at a point in her career in which she believed she could contribute more to the team by placing a greater emphasis on her performance as a player.

"Captaining the White Ferns was a great honour and a rewarding experience. I can look back knowing I gave it my all for six years", she said.

"I know I still have a lot to contribute to the White Ferns and international cricket and that the best way for me to do that is by concentrating more energy into my performances on the field."

Bates said Satterthwaite was a capable captain who would do an excellent job.

"She has my full backing and I am looking forward to supporting her in any way I can."

Satterthwaite, who has led the White Ferns previously, said she is excited to take the reins ahead of a busy season.

"It's a huge honour to be asked to captain your country and I'm really excited about what lies ahead.

"Suzie has done an outstanding job, and I'm sure she'll continue to contribute considerably in a leadership sense."

NZC chief executive David White said he supported Bates and understood her reasons behind the decision.

"Suzie has made it clear to me that she wants to lift her game to another level and build further on what already has been a stellar career," White said.

"She is already one of our 'greats' in terms of New Zealand cricket and we're happy to do anything we can to continue to enable her."

White said Satterthwaite was an experienced and competent leader and had the full confidence of NZC.

Bates, who also represented New Zealand in basketball at the Beijing Olympics, led the White Ferns to two World Cups and three World T20 tournaments.

Satterthwaite's first assignment in charge will be a three-match T20I series against Australia, before the team heads to November's World T20 in the West Indies.

The White Ferns begin a four-day camp at Lincoln on Thursday as they prepare for their tour to Australia at the end of the month.

Suzie Bates
Age: 30
ODIs: 115
T20Is: 101

- White Ferns captain since 2011
- 2015 Wisden's leading women's cricketer in the world.
- 2013 Women's World Cup player of the tournament.
- 2013 ICC Women's ODI cricketer of the year.
- 52 percent win ratio as ODI captain.
- 60 percent win ratio as T20I captain.