Women’s Big Bash League’s (WBBL) defending champions Sydney Thunder on Sunday confirmed the signing of star Indian cricketers Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma for the upcoming WBBL 07. Thunder coach Trevor Griffin said that the Indian duo will add an edge to Thunder’s title defence this season.
Both the Indians, who took part in the England’s The Hundred competition, are currently in Australia to play a multi-format series. Mandhana shined with the bat in the 2nd ODI on Friday at Mackay, while Deepti gave all-round contributions in the nail-biting match, which ended in Australia’s favour.
Smriti and Deepti react after signing contract
The new recruits, Smriti and Deepti opened up after the announcement. “I am really excited to join the Thunder for WBBL,” said the 25-year old Mandhana. Mandhana, who ranks 3rd in T20Is in the world said that she would embrace the pressure on her to perform for the team as an overseas star. She added, “I like it, it always helps (demands to perform). Playing in overseas leagues gives you a lot of experience, especially in the T20 format."
She also stated that she looks to learn from the pressure opportunities and get used to that. “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 said.
Mandhana is a world class player: Trevor Griffin
Thunder coach Griffin commented that Mandhana is a world class player and has a tremendous ability. “She’s world class. Smriti is an opening batter who has the tremendous ability to take everything in her stride."
He also stated that Deepti Sharma is also a great addition to the team as she is a good replacement for England’s Heather Knight. “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 power-play, during the middle of a match, or at the death,” Griffin said.
Meanwhile, Deepti said she is excited to play in WBBL and it is a big thing for Indian women cricketers. “This is my first time [in the WBBL], so I’m excited,” she 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," said Deepti.
The Sydney Thunder will begin their campaign against Adelaide Strikers on October 16, Saturday.