Indian cricketer Smriti Mandhana has been signed up by Western Storm for the 2018 season of KIA Super League, England’s T20 championship, the club announced on Thursday.
The 21-year-old India opener has been in fine form in 2018 and recently captained the Trailblazers in the one-off IPL exhibition game. She has scored 826 runs with a high score of 76 in 40 T20Is and 1464 runs in 41 ODIs at an average of 37.53 with a high score of 135.
In addition to her impressive international exploits, she has also featured in the Big Bash for Brisbane Heat, following in the footsteps of India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who played for Sydney Thunder.
While Kaur had previously been signed up to play in the KSL in 2017 by Surrey Stars, she had to skip the tournament because of injury. If Mandhana features in the tournament that runs from July 22 to August 27, she will become the first Indian player to appear in the KSL.
After working on a slightly more open stance since the end of the World Cup, where she started well before tapering off, Mandhana has enjoyed great success in 2018. She made 84 and 135 in the first two ODIs during the tour of South Africa earlier this year, and followed it up with a purple patch in the home season.
She scored nine half-centuries in 12 matches across two formats at home, finishing with 520 runs at an average of 65.
After securing her signing, Head Coach Trevor Griffin said: “We are really excited that Smriti will be joining us. She is one of the brightest young talents in the game at the moment. Although she is still young, she has a great deal of experience of the game at the highest level and we believe that she will prove to be an excellent signing.”
After putting pen to paper, Mandhana said, “I am very excited to be playing for the Kia Super League champions. To be the first Indian player to appear in the tournament is a real honour and I hope that I can help Western Storm to more success.”