England captain Heather Knight has withdrawn from the upcoming season of the Women’s Premier League 2024 announced the league on Saturday.

Her franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore have, instead, named South African all-rounder Nadine de Klerk as her replacement.

de Klerk who bowls medium-fast and bats right-handed, has featured in 30 ODIs and 46 T20Is for her country. She has scored 419 runs and claimed 35 wickets in T20Is.

Knight had scored 135 runs and picked up four wickets in the eight matches she played las season.

This makes Knight the second player to withdraw for the season. Earlier, English fast bowler Lauren Bell withdrew from the league. As a result, her UP Warriorz named Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for Bell.

Among the most powerful hitters in the game, the Lankan captain is also one of the most experienced players, having featured in over 120 T20Is and surprisingly went unsold in the auction.

Athapaththu, who scored 470 runs in 16 Twenty20 Internationals last year, had a tremendous season in the shortest format. She led Sri Lanka to a historic first series victory over England and concluded the series as both the top scorer and joint top wicket-taker.

This year, she also topped the charts of the Women's Big Bash League as the top run scorer.

She has been signed for her base price of INR 30 lakh.

The England players' withdrawal is likely due to their preparation for the New Zealand series, which starts in Dunedin just two days after the WPL final in Delhi, according to ESPN Cricinfo.

The second edition of the WPL is expected to begin on February 23 with the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru and the Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi being the designated venues for the event.