The Brisbane Heat have been dealt a blow on the eve of the Rebel WBBL season, with star allrounder Grace Harris sidelined as she recovers from knee surgery.
But the Heat have managed to pull off a coup, securing South African teenage batting prodigy Laura Wolvaardt as an injury placement for the big-hitting allrounder.
Wolvaardt, 18, joined the Heat this week. The right-hander made her international debut for the Proteas aged just 16 and last year became her country's youngest century-maker, posting a ton against Ireland.
She scored 324 runs at 64.8 during the ICC Women's World Cup in the United Kingdom earlier this year, including half-centuries against Australia and England.
The talented teenager will feature for the Heat during the first half of WBBL|03, before she returns to South Africa to begin her medical degree.
"Laura is a class act with the bat and certainly caught the eye during the World Cup this year so we jumped at the chance to secure her as an injury replacement for Grace,’’ Heat coach Peter McGiffin said.
"She’s going to be starting a medical degree early next year which is an obvious priority, but the timing for her and us was right for the start of the WBBL and we’re pleased she can be a part of the club."
McGiffin said Harris, who returned to the Heat this season after spending one season with the Renegades last summer, was making steady progress after surgery last month.
It's hoped the off-spinning allrounder will return later in the season.
"We’re being conservative with Grace and so far, things are progressing pretty well. We’ll continue to review her and work towards a comeback later in the series."
Wolvaardt is the second overseas player to be signed by the Heat for WBBL|03, joining West Indian star Deandra Dottin.
She's also the fifth Proteas player to sign on for the summer, joining compatriots Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk (Sixers), and Mignon du Preez and Lizelle Lee (Stars).
Brisbane Heat squad: Jemma Barsby, Haidee Birkett, Tess Cooper, Deandra Dottin (WI), Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Laura Harris, Courtney Hill, Sammy Jo Johnson, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Georgia Prestwidge, Kirby Short, Kara Sutherland, Laura Wolvaardt (SA).