WPL 2024: UP Warriorz name Chamari Athapaththu as replacement for Lauren Bell (ld)

UP Warriorz have named Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for England fast-bowler Lauren Bell ahead of the 2024 season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL

New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) UP Warriorz have named Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for England fast-bowler Lauren Bell ahead of the 2024 season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL).

“English fast bowler Lauren Bell has withdrawn from the upcoming season of the Women’s Premier League 2024. UP Warriorz have named Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for Bell,” said a statement from the tournament on Friday.

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

“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 Athapaththu in a franchise statement.

She 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. Athapaththu was recently named as the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year, becoming the first female cricketer from Sri Lanka to win an ICC Award.

She was also named captain of both the ICC Women’s ODI and T20I Teams of the Year, announced earlier this week. The all-rounder scored 415 runs in eight ODI matches during 2023, at an average of 69.16 and a strike rate of 125.37.

Among a year of highlights, her unbeaten knocks of 108 and 140 helped Sri Lanka win the ICC Women’s Championship series against New Zealand 2-1 in Galle in June and July. Her highest score in the T20Is in 2023 was an unbeaten 80 against New Zealand at home which helped Sri Lanka secure a 10-wicket win.

However, her best performance came against England, where she was Player of the Series for her memorable all-round run. This was Sri Lanka’s first-ever T20I series win against the country, especially in England. She also led Sri Lanka to a silver medal in the women’s T20 event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

“Unfortunately, Lauren won’t be a part of our squad this season but we wish her the best for the summer. That said, We are very excited to bring Chamari Athapaththu on board with the UP Warriorz. She has been a stalwart of T20I cricket for over a decade and we look forward to bringing her on board with us.”

“She has been a great ambassador for women’s cricket all over the world, and we are delighted to have her experience and know-how among our ranks this season,” said Kshemal Waingankar, COO, UP Warriorz.

In the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) 2023, brought in as an overseas replacement player, Chamari scored 552 runs in 14 innings, averaging 42.46 in the tournament, and also bagged nine wickets for the Sydney Thunder, eventually being named Player of the Tournament.

Athapaththu is currently playing for Northern Districts Women in the 2023/24 Women’s Super-Smash tournament in New Zealand and has been a part of the now-defunct Kia Super League in England, Women’s T20 Challenge in India, as well as for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Women’s Caribbean Premier League in West Indies.

WPL 2024 will be held in Bengaluru and New Delhi from February 23 to March 17. The WPL 2024 season will only have single headers, with all matches beginning at 7:30 PM IST. The first 11 matches will be held in Bengaluru, with the remaining nine league matches and the two Playoff matches taking place in Delhi.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, the runners-up of the first season of WPL will face off in the opening match at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. UP Warriorz will begin their WPL 2024 campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on February 24.

UP Warriorz updated squad: Alyssa Healy, Anjali Sarvani, Deepti Sharma, Grace Harris, Kiran Navgire, Chamari Athapaththu, Laxmi Yadav, Parshavi Chopra, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, S Yashasri, Shweta Sehrawat, Sophie Ecclestone, Tahlia McGrath, Danni Wyatt, Vrinda Dinesh, Poonam Khemnar, Saima Thakor, and Gouher Sultana

–IANS

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