Devine ready to reprise double act with Mooney
With three big recruits, the Perth Scorchers are well placed to feature in the business end of the season once more
13 October 2021, 12:46 PM AEST
Scorchers captain Sophie Devine admits the uncertainty around international travel left her with some doubts about committing to this season of the Weber WBBL, but ultimately the chance to once again wear orange in the world’s top women’s T20 tournament was too good to pass up.
Other star New Zealand players including Strikers regular Suzie Bates opted out of the tournament due to the closure of the trans-Tasman bubble and difficulties in obtaining places in the country’s hotel quarantine system to return home at the end of the season.
It means Devine and countrywoman Rachel Priest – who lives in Hobart – will be the only Kiwis in WBBL|07.
"It was huge, it was certainly a decision I didn’t take lightly, especially with a World Cup at home not too far away either," Devine said, referring to the ODI World Cup scheduled to be played in New Zealand next March.
"I had great support from New Zealand Cricket in this decision and I know the benefit I get from playing in this competition.
"I’ve been fortunate, I’ve played in every edition since it started and the benefits are massive for me.
"Having some really strong ties to Perth makes it nice to spend time over there as well, and it’s exciting to know we’ll be playing some home games.
"Everyone has had to make sacrifices to be there, I’m not alone in that … it does make it tricky getting home, as yet I don’t have a flight home, but I’m continuing to look on the various websites to try and get home before Christmas, but we’ll play that one out as it comes along."
The Scorchers, who made the semi-finals last season, have again been big movers this preseason.
While England pair Amy Jones and Sarah Glenn were unavailable to return due to a tour of Pakistan (which was recently cancelled), they were able to secure South Africa superstar Marizanne Kapp and Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu.
Kapp’s arrival adds an elite fast bowler to the pace attack, while her skill with the bat will be crucial to the middle-order. Athpaththu has an outstanding record in Australia, where she has scored two international hundreds, and she joins an already impressive top order alongside Devine and the world’s top-ranked T20 batter Beth Mooney.
"She’s certainly one of the most feared players going around," Devine said of Kapp.
"I’m extremely excited to play alongside her.
"The class she brings in terms of her ability to perform in all situations, all conditions, it’s going to be a huge benefit to this group.
"I’m stoked to have ‘Marv’ (Athapaththu) on board … she’s so exciting, her record in Australia is phenomenal."
Glenn’s loss from the spin attack is countered by the addition of another leg-spinner, WBBL|06 team of the tournament member Alana King from Melbourne Stars. King moved to Western Australia in 2020 and completed the move west when she signed the Scorchers deal.
"She’s certainly a character and brings a lot of energy which I think is a really important thing in these tournaments," Devine said of King.
"Her tournament last year was outstanding, she got me out a couple of times.
"She’s a real impact player with bat and ball."
The Perth-based Scorchers fly to Hobart on Friday, where they will connect with Mooney and coach Shelley Nitschke (also an Australian assistant), who were both involved in the series against India in Queensland.
Squad: Sophie Devine (NZ)(c), Beth Mooney*, Chamari Athapathu (SL), Marizanne Kapp (SA), Samantha Betts, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Ashley Day, Amy Edgar, Heather Graham, Lisa Griffith, Alana King, Lilly Mills, Taneale Peschel, Chloe Piparo
* CA contracted marquee player
In: Marizanne Kapp (Sixers), Chamari Athapaththu, Alana King (Stars), Lisa Griffith (Sixers), Lilly Mills (Heat), Ashley Day, Amy Edgar
Out: Jemma Barsby (Strikers), Amy Jones, Sarah Glenn, Emma King (retired), Nicole Bolton (Sixers), Megan Banting, Georgia Wyllie
Possible best XI: Beth Mooney (wk), Sophie Devine (c), Chamari Athapathu, Heather Graham, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Piparo, Mathilda Carmichael, Alana King, Samantha Betts, Taneale Peschel, Piepa Cleary
Player to watch: Alana King
X-factor: Chamari Athapaththu
Last year's result: Semi-finalist
The inside word with Mel Jones: "If they can get off to a great start with (Sophie Devine and Beth Mooney), the Scorchers need to find players to keep that momentum going. Or if by chance – a miracle – those two don't fire, people have to step up in the Powerplay. That'll be the focus."
October 17 v Heat, Blundstone Arena
October 19 v Heat, Blundstone Arena
October 23 v Renegades, UTAS Stadium
October 24 v Thunder, UTAS Stadium
October 30 v Strikers, Lilac Hill
October 31 v Sixers, Lilac Hill
November 3 v Renegades, WACA Ground
November 6 v Hurricanes, WACA Ground
November 7 v Hurricanes, WACA Ground
November 10 v Stars, Karen Rolton Oval
November 11 v Thunder, Karen Rolton Oval
November 17 v Strikers, Karen Rolton Oval
November 20 v Stars, Adelaide Oval
November 21 v Sixers, Adelaide Oval
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