Athapaththu brushes off draft snub, wins player of WBBL|09

Overlooked in the inaugural overseas player draft, Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu took her eventual chance with both hands in WBBL|09

The best of Chamari Athapaththu in WBBL|09

Chamari Athapaththu had a point to prove when she arrived in Australia in early October.

That is no longer the case, with the Sri Lanka superstar crowned the Weber WBBL|09 Player of the Tournament.

The Sydney Thunder import won a tight race by a single vote over Adelaide Strikers opener Katie Mack for the award, voted on a 3-2-1 basis by the standing umpires in each match.  

Athapaththu finished the regular season second on the runs table with 511 runs at 42.58, striking at 129.69– an incredible return for a player overlooked in the inaugural overseas player draft following similar snubs at the WPL and The Hundred.

Chamari Athapaththu posts on her Facebook the day after the WBBL draft //

She also picked up nine wickets including 3-20 against the Sixers and maintained an economy rate of 6.79.

Meanwhile, Brisbane Heat allrounder Charli Knott has been named the WBBL|09 Young Gun after a breakout season with bat and ball.

WBBL|09 Player of the Tournament:


Chamari Athapaththu (Sydney Thunder) – 30 votes 


Katie Mack (Adelaide Strikers) – 29  


Beth Mooney (Perth Scorchers) – 27  


Sophie Devine (Perth Scorchers) – 26  


Annabel Sutherland (Melbourne Stars) – 24 

Athapaththu was a last-minute addition to WBBL|09, brought on by the Thunder as a replacement overseas player, a move made possible because they had room in the salary cap.

She got a run first game when No.1 draft pick Marizanne Kapp was unwell and kept her spot ever since, with English quick Lauren Bell, drafted 18th overall, forced to the sidelines.

Athapaththu's superb season continues with 77*

Athapaththu has long been a force at international level, with nine centuries to her name.

But the left-hander never quite managed to translate those performances into the WBBL. In 34 Big Bash innings prior to this season, she had hit just two half-centuries and averaged 18 with a strike rate of 95.

But confidence drawn from a superb year at international level – both personally and for Sri Lanka – has been key in unlocking Athapaththu's best so far in WBBL|09.

Her twin unbeaten tons led Sri Lanka to their first ever ODI series win against New Zealand in July, before she was again the leading run scorer as her team shocked England and claimed an historic T20I series victory in September.

Awesome Athapaththu lights up NSO, takes Golden Bat

The backing of Thunder coach Lisa Keightley and captain Heather Knight has also given Athapaththu the conviction to stick to her natural game.

"The last year I've been playing really good cricket in Sri Lanka as a captain and as a team, so I'm enjoying that and I'm keeping that momentum (going)," Athapaththu told earlier this month.

"Always positive and fearless – that's my game plan every time.

"I've worked hard in the nets in the last six, seven months and we beat New Zealand in Sri Lanka, we beat England on their home soil.

"So as a captain and as a player, I'm feeling pretty good and confident about myself and my team so I keep continuing this form in the WBBL.

"(Lisa) always says to play my natural game and play like a leader because I'm the Sri Lankan skipper … I love that responsibility because when I was playing for Sri Lanka, I always have responsibility – the whole batting line-up depends on my shoulders – so I love that energy."

WBBL|09 Finals

The Eliminator: Brisbane Heat v Sydney Thunder | WACA Ground | November 28, 7.40pm AEDT (4.40pm local)

The Challenger: Perth Scorchers v TBC | WACA Ground | November 29, 7.40pm AEDT (4.40pm local)

The Final: Adelaide Strikers v TBC | Adelaide Oval | December 2 at 7.10pm AEDT/6.40pm ACDT

Grab your tickets or tune in on the Seven Network, Fox Cricket, Kayo or ABC radio