Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian women cricketer to sign up for the Australian Twenty20 extravaganza, the Women's Big Bash League. Kaur, the vice-captain of the national team, will play for champions Sydney Thunder. It was reported that as many as three teams were gunning for the 27-year-old all-rounder's signature.
The 27-year-old all-rounder's limited-overs skills were evident earlier in 2016 where she was the architect of a record Indian chase with a blazing 31-ball 46 at Adelaide, helping India successfully knock off 141 against Australia in the first Twenty20 International of their three match series.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Kaur in a statement released by Sydney Thunder. “The WBBL is a great platform for women's cricketers, being the first player from my country to sign a contract for a BBL club is one of my best moments,"
It was only in June this year that the Board of Control for Cricket in India gave the green signal for India's women cricketers to feature in overseas cricket leagues.
The Big Bash League, a Twenty20 domestic league which has been touted as Australia's version of the IPL, has been a runaway hit with the Australian public, with sellout crowds attending the matches. In the men's game, the Melbourne derby, played between the Stars and the Renegades, drew 80,883 supporters at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in January 2016.
While Kaur is one of the biggest names in the Indian contingent, veteran Jhulan Goswami and captain Mithali Raj are expected have a list of suitors too. Opener Smriti Mandhana, after a breakthrough season, is also on the radar of the franchises.