Australian netball legend Bianca Chatfield will swap the court for the cricket pitch this summer, as she lends her expertise to the Melbourne Renegades.
While the retired champion defender is not swapping codes in the manner of former professional tennis player and Brisbane Heat recruit Ash Barty, Chatfield will act as a mentor and club ambassador for the Renegades' Women's Big Bash League team as they embark on their first season.
Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry said Chatfield, who is a World Cup winner, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and former vice-captain of Australia, would be able to share a wealth of expertise about competing at the highest level.
"We want to be the leaders at increasing female engagement and participation. Bianca’s long-term success at the highest level is inspiring for young women everywhere. She’ll be a real asset to the club with a focus on our WBBL side this season," Coventry said.
"Bianca will also be involved at some of our BBL games as part of her role in promoting the women’s team and the great opportunities for young women who are actively involved in sport."
Chatfield said she was looking forward to being involved with the Renegades.
"Like any Australian, cricket and summer go hand-in-hand for me. The Big Bash format has obviously struck a chord with fans over the summer and I was really pleased to see the Women’s Big Bash League launched for the ongoing development of women’s sport in Australia," Chatfield said.
"As part of my role I’ll be sharing some of my experiences and lessons I’ve learnt during my career with the WBBL players."
Meanwhile, the Renegades have added two ACT Meteors players to their WBBL squad, signing Kris Britt and Jenny Taffs.
Kris Britt in action during the WNCL // Getty Images
The Renegades have also secured the services of former VicSpirit player Erica Kershaw for WBBL|01.
Former Southern Star Britt is the current ACT captain and has played 17 one-day internationals, two T20s and one Test match for Australia.
She brought up her 100th domestic one-day game earlier this year, having spent nine seasons playing for the Breezair SA Scorpions before she returned home to Canberra when the Meteors were founded.
Taffs, 20, had a breakout season last year for the ACT after she was elevated to the top of the batting order mid-season and put together solid scores in five consecutive matches. Taffs was a talented rugby player growing up but moved into cricket at the age of 16.
Left-hand batter and wicketkeeper Kershaw played for Victoria during the 2010-11 season and now plays for Dandenong alongside fellow Renegades Sarah Elliott and Sophie Molineux.
Britt said she was eagerly anticipating the WBBL season.
"Everyone is talking about WBBL and I can’t wait to join up with the Renegades for the first season," Britt said.
"It’ll be great to play at Etihad Stadium for the double header on January 9 and I hope all the Renegades fans get out and support us throughout the season."
Renegades WBBL coach Lachlan Stevens said the trio would be valuable additions to the squad.
"We’ve got a good balance of younger and more experienced players in our squad. Kris will be one of those experienced heads that you need in high pressure situations. Jenny has that youth and no-fear attitude and Erica knows our home venues well," Stevens said.
Renegades squad: Sarah Elliott, Dane Van Niekerk (South Africa), Danielle Wyatt (England), Rachel Priest (New Zealand), Cassie Brock, Nicola Hancock, Molly Strano, Sophie Molineux, Kris Britt, Jenny Taffs, Erica Kershaw, Kirsty Lamb.