The UP Warriorz have roped in Sri Lankan all-rounder Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for fast bowler Lauren Bell ahead of the 2024 Women’s Premier League.

The 23-year-old Bell has reportedly pulled out of the tournament. The Warriorz had recruited the services of the Englishwoman for Rs 30 lakh ahead of the inaugural edition of the tournament, which was held last year.

Athapaththu comes into the tournament after being snubbed by the five franchises during the player auctions held in November last year. With the experience of having played in over 122 T20 Internationals, the 33-year-old opening batter is one of the most feared strikers in women’s cricket.

She is the only Sri Lankan woman to have scored a T20I century and has been bought in for Rs 30 lakh.

Athapaththu was also overlooked at the Women’s Big Bash League draft last year before turning out as a replacement player for the Sydney Thunders. She lit up the tournament with 511 runs at an average of 42.58 and strike-rate of 129.69 to go with her nine wickets at an economy rate of 6.79.

Athapaththu was deservingly named the Player of the Season with 30 votes, edging out Katie Mack of Adelaide Srikers, who received 29 votes.

The second edition of the Women’s Premier League is slated to start on February 23 with a repeat clash of last year’s final between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.

The UP Warriorz will play their first match of the season on the next day against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.