Defending champions Sydney Thunder have signed India batter Smriti Mandhana and all-rounder Deepti Sharma ahead of the upcoming season of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
Mandhana and Sharma, who are currently in Queensland with Team India for the limited overs series and a day-night Test match against Australia, were roped in by Thunder as replacement players. Incidentally, the English duo of Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont are unavailable for this year’s WBBL.
Trevor Griffin, the head coach of Thunder, who had also previously worked with the pair at Western Storm team in the now-defunct Kia Super League in 2019, said: “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.
“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.”
After getting the opportunity, Mandhana stated that she would embrace the pressure on her to perform as one of Thunder’s overseas players.
“Playing in overseas leagues gives you a lot of experience, especially in the T20 format,” Mandhana said.
“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.
“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,” she added.
Thunder will start their WBBL campaign against the Adelaide Strikers on Saturday, October 16.