Reigning champions Sydney Thunder have signed Indian players Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma for the next edition of the Women’s Big Bash League.
This will be the third successive season for the left-handed opening batter after playing for Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes in the last two seasons. Mandhana has scored 407 runs from 25 WBBL matches across two seasons and has a couple of fifties next to her name.
“Playing in overseas leagues gives you a lot of experience, especially in the T20 format. Then, of course, you exchange so much experience with each other . . . with all the players from over the world . . . so you get to learn a lot,” Mandhana was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“Rather than ‘pressure’, I always look at it as an opportunity to learn, and to get used to that pressure because it only builds when you play international cricket,” Mandhana further added.
Deepti Sharma thinks it is a big opportunity to play in WBBL
The 24-year-old bowling all-rounder Deepti Sharma, who played for Lond Spirits in the Women’s Hundred, will make her maiden appearance in Australia’s elite T20 competition for women.
“This is my first time [in the WBBL], so I’m excited. I’ve had offers before, but I couldn’t play at the time because at the time we had [an international] series,” Deepti asserted.
“It’s a big thing for Indian women’s cricket that we have the opportunity to play in the WBBL. We have to express ourselves in the competition,” she added.
Smriti Mandhana-Deepti Sharma replace England players in the Sydney Thunder squad
Mandhana and Deepti are the replacements for England players Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont, who remain unavailable for the upcoming WBBL season.
Sydney Thunder women’s team head coach Trevor Griffin said that the Indian duo were the apt replacements for England‘s outgoing players and called Deepti a match-winner.
“While it’s disappointing not to be able to have Heather back, if you could choose any replacement for her it would be Deepti – she’s also a star. She offers a lot with the bat – Deepti is a match-winner – and she also has the talent to bowl in the powerplay, during the middle of a match, or at the death,” Griffin said.
“Smriti is an opening batter who has the tremendous ability to take everything in her stride. I like that she keeps her game really simple; she just wants to score runs. I’m delighted to have her on board, and I have no doubt that she’ll prove to be a great addition to Thunder,” he added.
India’s T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur was part of the Sydney Thunder women’s team before she missed the previous season as the WBBL clashed with India’s Women’s T20 Challenge.
Harmanpreet played a total of 35 matches across three seasons for the Sydney Thunder, she amassed 713 runs at the strike rate of 116.89 and scalped 12 wickets at an economy of 7.53 in WBBL.
The WBBL 2021 season will commence on October 14 with Sydney Sixers women taking on Melbourne Stars women at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.