Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma picked by Sydney Thunder for WBBL

Defending WBBL champions Sydney Thunder have pulled off an excellent deal by signing India batter Smriti Mandhana and allrounder Deepti Sharma ahead of their title defence in October.

Mandhana, coming off her highest ODI score of the year, is set to play for her third WBBL franchise after previous experiences with Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes.

Smriti overjoyed with the selection

Mandhana, 25, said she was excited to get another opportunity to play in the WBBL and is looking forward to the challenge of being the marquee overseas player.

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.”

Sharma, 24, was thrilled to get her first chance to play in the WBBL.

Deepti’s First WBBL Tour

“This is my first time [in the WBBL], so I’m excited,” Sharma said. “I’ve had offers before, but I couldn’t play at the time because at the time we had [an international] series.

“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.”

Coach Trevor Griffin talks about the duo

Coach Trevor Griffin, who earlier worked with the pair at Storm, felt the Indians were the perfect replacements for Knight and Beaumont.

“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,” Griffin said. “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.”

The WBBL begins on October 14, following India’s ongoing multi-format series against Australia, with the first 20 matches scheduled to be played in Tasmania.


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