WBBL clubs set sights on Indian stars | cricket.com.au

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WBBL clubs set sights on Indian stars

Inaugural champions Sydney Thunder among the clubs set to target India's leading players for WBBL|02

India stars Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jhulan Goswami will be high on the wishlists of Women’s Big Bash League clubs, the competition’s home-grown stars have confirmed.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has cleared the way for its players to join an overseas domestic T20 competition for the first time, opening the door for India’s best female cricketers to feature in WBBL|02.

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Inaugural champions Sydney Thunder have one vacancy for an international player this summer and skipper Alex Blackwell confirmed they have their eye on India’s stars.

"I think we saw in the Indian team some very dynamic players, including Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur, I think these two stood out,” Blackwell told cricket.com.au.

"And of course Jhulan Goswami, she’s a legend of the game and someone I’d love to see in the Women’s Big Bash. She’s a great team person and I’ve certainly enjoyed many battles with her over the years.

"We have a pretty solid team and we’re hoping our list stays consistent after a successful first year, but we have an opportunity to bring another overseas players in and we’ll be looking to spend that spot wisely.

"Hopefully we’ll get one of the best players around the world. We’re the champion team and hopefully a team people want to play for, I’m looking forward to seeing who that person might be."

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India claimed a 2-1 Twenty20 series victory over the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars on Australian soil in January, with 33-year-old veteran Goswami causing major problems for Australia’s top order, striking in the first over of each match.

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Harmanpreet, a seamer who is also a powerful middle-order batter, will also be in the sights of recruiters after her 46 from 31 balls guided India to victory in the series opener in Adelaide.

Thunder quick Rene Farrell said she would also like to see Mandhana picked up by the Thunder, while spinner Erin Osborne has her eye on Goswami.

"I’d love to play alongside Goswami think she’d be a tremendous asset for the Sydney Thunder so hopefully we can get her,” Osborne said.

India skipper Mithali Raj and 19-year-old Mandhana, who scored 222 runs at 50.5 during the six-match T20 and ODI tour of Australia, are also likely to be targeted by WBBL teams.

WBBL|01 runners-up Sydney Sixers have one place available for an international this season and captain Ellyse Perry said the club hoped to use the spot to bolster their batting line-up – making them ideal candidates to pick up the likes of Mandhana, Harmanpreet or Raj.

"Last year, being the first year, the league was quick to fill the overseas positions and I’m sure some players missed out who wanted a chance,” Perry told cricket.com.au.

"Now with some of the Indian players being available, someone like Kaur who made a big splash in the T20 games would have a number of teams looking at her."

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After missing out on the finals in WBBL|01, Brisbane Heat stars Jess Jonassen and Beth Mooney believe the addition of an Indian star in teal could help turn their fortunes around this summer.

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"They’ll be a good addition to any Big Bash team because we played them at the start of our summer and they beat us 2-1 in T20 series, so there are definitely some subcontinent players to look out for,” Mooney said.

"Hopefully they jump on board and make the competition even more exciting."

Meanwhile, Brisbane Heat quick Holly Ferling wants to see newly appointed England vice-captain – and No.1 ranked T20 bowler - Anya Shrubsole recruited for WBBL|02.

"She’s one of the best in the world, I’m not sure why she didn’t play last year, but she’s such a phenomenal bowler with her inswingers,” Ferling told cricket.com.au.

"Our team fears her, pretty much, because she is unstoppable. So it will be interesting to see if she comes.

"A team in need of a bowler should definitely be knocking on her door."

South Africa speedster Shabnuim Ismail is also looking to be hot property ahead of WBBL|02.

The damaging quick played just two matches for the Melbourne Renegades as a replacement player last summer but made an immediate impact in her opening game at the MCG, capturing 3-10.

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Both Melbourne Stars captain Meg Lanning and Perth Scorchers batter Elyse Villani are tipping the Protea to have an extended stay on Australian shores this summer.

"Ismail played a couple of games for the Renegades and I think she’s an outstanding bowler so I’m hoping to see her there for the whole entire tournament this year," Lanning told cricket.com.au.

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A Cricket Australia spokesperson said no Indian players had yet been signed by Big Bash clubs.

"We want cricket to be the number one sport for girls and women in Australia and a highly competitive Women's Big Bash League will help cricket appeal to a broader audience and gain greater exposure," the spokesperson said.

"Last year's overseas players – like Sophie Devine and Heather Knight – shone, and we are always talking to other cricket boards about the availability of their contracted players joining the Women's Big Bash League to add another competitive element.

"The BCCI has indicated they are open to contracted Indian female players playing in the WBBL this summer but will look at it on a player-by-player basis."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith