Five of India’s leading women’s internationals are to take part in the inaugural edition of English cricket’s new The Hundred competition, officials announced on Thursday.
Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues and Shafali Verma will all play in the pioneering 100 balls per side tournament, which features eight franchises all fielding men’s and women’s teams.
Verma –- the top-ranked batter in women’s Twenty20 internationals -– replaces New Zealand’s Sophie Devine at Birmingham Phoenix.
Devine, following the logistical problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic, has opted out of the competition in order prepare for international cricket, with the 50-over Women’s World Cup due to be held in New Zealand in February.
Kaur, who made a stunning 171 not out as India beat Australia in the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup before they lost to hosts England at Lord’s, will play for Manchester Originals.
And that means she is set to play in the very first match of the tournament, a standalone women’s fixture against the Oval Invincibles at Surrey’s headquarters on July 21.
“It’s very exciting that I’m going to get to play in the first ever game of The Hundred,” Kaur said in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.
“It will be special to make history, especially with a women’s match at such a big ground. We’ve played in front of some large crowds in India and it’s always a great experience for the players.”
Meanwhile, Mandhana is set to form an opening partnership with England’s Danni Wyatt at Southern Brave, with Sharma joining England captain Heather Knight at London Spirit and Rodrigues representing Northern Superchargers.
Beth Barrett-Wild, head of The Hundred women’s competition, said: “It’s so good to finally be able to confirm the involvement of some of the superstars from the India team.
“They’re a hugely exciting group of players and they’ll bring a lot to the competition.”
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