Sydney Thunders needed 28 from 7 balls and left-arm seamer, Gemma Triscari, was ready to bowl her final ball of the allotted overs. Harmanpreet Kaur, who was playing her first WBBL match in 2016, was on strike. The ball pitched closer to the wide line, fuller. She moved towards her off stump and went for her trademark inside out stroke. The ball which went for the six over extra cover had contradictory effects on the bowler.

While she was awestruck, including commentators, by the stroke, she has seen bursting into laughter. Maybe that’s the only thing she could do against that stroke. Thunders didn’t win that match, but Harmanpreet’s unbeaten 47 from 28 balls earned praise from Adam Gilchrist.

Now, what happened back in India? Earlier all the tweets regarding women and men’s games used to be done by BCCI’s official handle. Now on 10th December, BCCI Women got their Twitter Handle. So Harmnapreet’s first WBBL appearance also marked the appearance of their own Twitter account. You may call it a coincidence, but what if it is not? What if it was the enigma of arrival? And if so, then it started with the WBBL.

WBBL

This year eight Indian players have been signed by the WBBL franchises. Let’s have a look at them:

Smriti Mandhana (Sydney Thunders)

Smriti Mandhana became the 2nd ever Indian cricketer to join any foreign franchise when she joined Brisbane Heats in 2016. Heats played her down the order and Mandhana failed to live up to the expectations with the bat. In 10 innings she managed to score 89 runs with an average of 11 while picking up 3 wickets.

In 2018 she once again came to the fore when she was signed by Hobert Hurricanes after a staller season for Western Storm in KIA Super League. That year she made a better contribution for the side. With 318 runs at a strike rate of 144, Mandhana gave Hurricanes the kind of start they were looking for.

While Sydney Thunders the defending champions will miss the service of Heather Knight who has scored more than 400 runs last season and Tammy Beaumont, Rachael Haynes may miss some of the matches due to parental leave. In that scenario, Smriti Mandhana has a much more prominent role than ever before in a much-inexperienced side. While she had a good outing in the Hundreds she has also worked with Trevor Griffin, the Thunders coach, in KSL.  Mandhana has scored 167 runs with 2 half-centuries at a strike rate of 133 for Southern Braves in this year’s Hundred.

Deepti Sharma (Sydney Thunders)

In absence of two prominent English cricketer, Thunders have chipped in with another Indian who will be making her debut in the WBBL. Deepti Sharma who has played for Western Storm along with Smriti Mandhana in KSL under the guidance of Trevor Griffin has made her way into the Thunders side this year.

While In T-20 Deepti Sharma is much more prominent with her ball in the middle overs, she can tank the ball too. Her ability to rotate the strike in the middle overs and precision to clear the boundary when needed makes her a useful contributor. Along with that, her fielding in the inner circle has caught the eyes several times. Along with Sam Bates and Smith Deepti Sharma’s spin will bring variety in the bowling order for Thunders.

Harmanpreet Kur (Melbourne Renegades) 

The First Indian ever to join any foreign league, Harmanpreet Kaur, after spending her couple of years in Thunders side has moved to a new side along with Jemimah Rodrigues. Kaur has taken 12 wickets for them while making 713 runs in 3 seasons. Kaur came into the reckoning after her blistering knock in her opening match in 2016 against Stars. Her six over cover forced the bowler to burst into laughter while she came into notice.

While in absence of Suttherwaite and Tahuhu, the inclusion of Haramanpreet can provide them with an experienced player who has led a national side and can turn the table with both bat and ball.

Jemimah Rodrigues (Melbourne Renegades)

Jemima though has been dropped from the ODI side of India, has continued to impress in the shorter formats of the game. The only cricketer for Yorkshire Diamond to Score a Hundred in now-defunct KSL, Jemi, has also left her mark in the opening season of The Hundred.

With 249 runs at a strike rate of 150 for Northern Superchargers also witnessed 3 half-centuries. Jemimah who also remained not out on 49 in India’s first match against Australia in the recently concluded series, proved her inclusion right for the Renegades. Renegades will hope for a similar show in the top of the order where they have lacked for seasons.

Poonam Yadav (Brisbane Heats)

In absence of Amelia Kerr who has been instrumental for a couple of seasons for them, Heats has picked Yadav as a replacement. Yadav has been a prominent face in the Indian bowling lineup after her debut. In the shorter formats of the game, her spin and loop have been detrimental for the opposition. Batters have found it difficult to tackle her in the last two to the T-20 world cup as well. But her recent form has gone through a dip and that remains an area 0f concern.

Richa Ghosh ( Hobert Hurricanes)

Ghosh who became the first concussion sub in World T-20 has risen the rank very fast. Her ability to clear the boundary with ease and a fearless attitude will help Hurricanes who lack a power hitter. In the Australia series too she has shown the ability she has in the middle order in both ODI and T-20 series. Though she needs fine-tuning in her keeping, this WBBL season can be a breakthrough in her career. Playing a league like this at a very young age will help her and the Indian side for a longer side.

Radha Yadav (Sydney Sixers) 

Another Indian who will make a WBBL debut Radha Yadav has a unique record of picking up at least a wicket in 26 continuous matches in t-20 matches. A crafty left-arm spinner and a useful bat down the end Radha Yadav became the player of the match in the Final in both 2018 and 2019 Women IPL. Her inclusion in the Sixers side will bring variety and can fill the spot that DVN left.

Shafali Verma ( Sydney Sixers)

The kid who has taken the world back with the ability to clear the boundary with a childish smile on her face, Verma has joined Sixers for her first year in WBBL. The youngest Indian to score a half-century in International cricket has been India go-to person with the bat in the shorter format of the game. Though she has work to do with her batting, a team and tournament like this can work wonders for the wonder kid and help her to flourish.

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