South Africa fast bowler Shabnim Ismail and Ireland top-order batter Kim Garth were the headline signings for the 2019 edition of the Women’s Big Bash League, which will be played in its own, independent window for the first time.
Ismail, who is one of the fastest bowlers in the women’s game, has signed up for Sydney Thunder. She previously played in the tournament at the inaugural edition, when she represented Melbourne Renegades. Garth, meanwhile, will turn out for Perth Scorchers, having been a part of the title-winning Sydney Sixers team in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
In other big news, South Africa all-rounder Chloe Tryon will make her WBBL debut, having signed up with Hobart Hurricanes. She will be joined by the England pair of Heather Knight and Fran Wilson.
Ismail will join New Zealand wicket-keeper batter Rachel Priest, Pakistan all-rounder Nida Dar and Australia batter Rachael Haynes as Thunder’s marquee players.
“I’m really excited to join the Thunder and obviously make a difference," Ismail said. "I really want to make an impact with the girls, and obviously I want to win as well. For the youngsters, just to pass on my knowledge from the level that I’ve been playing at, which is the highest level."
Thunder, however, bid goodbye to West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, who jumped ship to Adelaide Strikers, where she will join New Zealanders Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine. England’s Lauren Winfield will replace Taylor when the latter leaves mid-season for international duties. Australia all-rounder Nicola Carey has also left Thunder, moving to the Hurricanes.
Garth will join England’s Natalie Sciver and Amy Jones to complete the overseas presence at the Scorchers. "It came to me as a bit of a shock, I was playing in a World Cup qualifier at the time, and when I heard the Scorchers wanted to sign me, I was over the moon," she said.
"The WBBL is the best female domestic competition in the world, and for the opportunity to play in this tournament alongside the likes of Meg Lanning and Nat Sciver is really exciting."
Among other changes and movements, defending champions Brisbane Heat replaced their South African duo of Sune Luus and Laura Wolvaardt with the Kiwi pair of Ameila Kerr and Maddy Green.
Renegades have roped in Tammy Beaumont as replacement for New Zealand’s Amy Satterthwaite, who is expecting her first child. Georgia Wareham, the Australia leg-spinner, who earned her first central contract this year, will be among their marquee players, alongside national team-mate Sophie Molineux.
South Africans Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez rejoin the Stars, who will also be led by a new captain this season, with Elyse Villani taking over the reins from Kristen Beams.
The 2019 edition of the WBBL will get underway on 18 October and conclude on 8 December.
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