Hurricanes sign retired South African hitter for WBBL|08

Former South African top-order star Lizelle Lee will make her return to the WBBL this summer after opting out of last year's tournament due to bubble fatigue

Retired South African power-hitter Lizelle Lee will finally don Hobart Hurricanes colours, after last year pulling the pin on a chance to play for the WBBL club.

The Hurricanes on Thursday announced the 30-year-old former Stars and Renegades representative would take part in the competition, set to begin on October 13.

It comes as the Brisbane Heat announced the signing of their second international for WBBL|08 this afternoon with damaging Indian allrounder Pooja Vastrakar to play for the club this summer.

The 22-year-old joins New Zealand allrounder Amelia Kerr as the Heat's international recruits and will become the third Indian woman to play for Brisbane after Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav previously represented the club.

Vastrakar is a right-arm pace bowler and dangerous lower-order hitter who smashed 56 not out and claimed 2-33 in her last international outing against Sri Lanka earlier this month.

She has represented India 52 times across all formats but is currently recovering from COVID before joining her national teammates at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Image Id: 92B3FD9C474F4C97A904C1C3AC9A6F64 Image Caption: India allrounder Pooja Vastrakar will play for the Heat in WBBL|08 // Getty

Lee played 82 T20Is and 100 one-day internationals for South Africa but retired from international cricket earlier this month to focus on playing domestic T20 cricket around the world.

The T20 free agent finished her international career with 5,253 runs across all three formats with her previous four previous Weber WBBL seasons yielding 1,361 runs at a strike-rate of 124.88 in 53 matches.

She is also one of six batters to hit two or more WBBL centuries – 102 not out for the Stars against the Sixers in December 2018 and 103 not out for the Stars against the Scorchers in November 2019.

Lee powers her way to first century of WBBL|05

"I'm super excited to be joining the Hurricanes," she said.

"I was originally meant to join the Hurricanes last year, but due to a combination of my family circumstances, international commitments and bubble fatigue ... I just couldn't make it work.

"My good friend and South African teammate, Mignon (Du Preez), said she really enjoyed her time in the Hurricanes environment last season."

Lee's signing further strengthens the batting of the Hurricanes, who are yet to win a WBBL title and have not made the finals since the tournament's second edition.

Hobart announced the signing of former Australia representative Elyse Villani on a two-year deal in June.

Villani, who has played 96 short-form games for Australia, captained Tasmania to their first domestic one-day title earlier this year.

Lee is the Hurricanes' first international signing for WBBL|08. She is due to feature in England's Hundred competition with Manchester Originals in August-September before travelling to Australia.

Hobart will open their season against Sydney Thunder at Blacktown on October 14.

Hobart Hurricanes WBBL|08 squad (so far): Nicola Carey, Maisy Gibson, Heather Graham, Ruth Johnston, Lizelle Lee (South Africa), Emma Manix-Geeves, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Amy Smith, Naomi Stalenberg, Molly Strano, Rachel Trenaman, Elyse Villani

Brisbane Heat WBBL|08 squad (so far): Jess Jonassen (c), Amelia Kerr (New Zealand), Pooja Vastrakar (India), Nicola Hancock, Grace Harris, Laura Harris, Mikayla Hinkley, Ellie Johnston, Charli Knott, Georgia Redmayne, Courtney Sippel, Georgia Voll