WPL 2024: Lauren Bell withdrew from UP Warriorz squad to focus on New Zealand tour, says ECB

Fast-bowler Lauren Bell has withdrawn from the UP Warriorz’s 2024 Women’s Premier League (WPL) squad to prioritise preparing optimally for England

London, Jan 26 (IANS) Fast-bowler Lauren Bell has withdrawn from the UP Warriorz’s 2024 Women’s Premier League (WPL) squad to prioritise preparing optimally for England Women’s tour to New Zealand, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has clarified.

“Having represented the franchise last year, Bell really enjoyed her time with UP Warriorz at the inaugural WPL and wishes them the best in their 2024 campaign,” the ECB said in a statement on Friday.

Lauren Bell was earlier this year added as an uncapped player to the England squad for the Ashes series in 2023 and was also part of England’s T20I and Test tour of India in December.

In response, UP Warriorz have named Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for Lauren Bell.

Among the most powerful hitters in the game, Athapaththu has featured in over 120 T20Is for Sri Lanka. Known for her attacking batting and handy off-spin bowling, Chamari is the only Sri Lankan woman to have scored a century in T20Is.

Athapaththu has been signed for her base price of INR 30 lakh, which is also the amount Lauren was signed up for by UP Warriorz ahead of WPL 2023. She was recently named the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year, becoming the first female cricketer from Sri Lanka to win an ICC Award.

“I am grateful to the UP Warriorz and Capri Sports for choosing to put their faith in me for the upcoming season of the Women’s Premier League. I look forward to giving my best to the team and working closely with head coach Jon Lewis and skipper Alyssa Healy and help my team lift the coveted title. The WPL is a very dynamic tournament, and the UP Warriorz is a strong squad,” said Chamari in a franchise statement.

–IANS

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