London: Smriti Mandhana will become the first Indian to feature in the Women’s Cricket Super League in England after signing up with defending champions Western Storm for the 2018 season.
Storm announced the Indian vice-captain as their second overseas recruit for the third edition of the domestic T20 competition, alongside New Zealand wicketkeeper-bat Rachel Priest, who is returning for her third stint with the club.
Mandhana has been India’s most consistent performer with the bat post World Cup 2017, aggregating 402 runs in 12 T20I innings, that included four half-centuries and a career-best 40-ball 76 against England.
The 21-year-old also notched up 531 runs at an average over 66, including five fifties and a career-best 135 against South Africa, in nine ODI innings since the start of 2018.
This is not Mandhana’s first taste of franchise cricket though, having previously played for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League in 2016-17. Most recently, she captained IPL Trailblazers in an one-off T20 exhibition match ahead of IPL 2018 Qualifier 1 in Mumbai.
“I am very excited to be playing for the Kia Super League champions. To be the first Indian player to appear in the tournament is a real honour and I hope that I can help Western Storm to more success,” the 21-year-old was quoted as saying by the franchise.
After securing her signing, head coach of the Western Storm, Trevor Griffin said: “We are really excited that Smriti will be joining us. She is one of the brightest young talents in the game at the moment.”
“Although she is still young, she has a great deal of experience of the game at the highest level and we believe that she will prove to be an excellent signing,” Griffin added.