India's T20I vice-captain Smriti Mandhana has been snapped up by Hobart Hurricanes for the fourth edition of the Women's Big Bash League. Harmanpreet Kaur, who signed a two-year deal with Sydney Thunder ahead of the 2017 edition, will also be returning for her third successive season in the league.
She will now join her national team captain Harmanpreet Kaur in the league, who will turn out for Sydney Thunder for the second successive season.
Mandhana, who last year represented the Brisbane Heat, is the third highest run scorer in T20Is in 2018 and will be united with her Western Storm captain Heather Knight of England, who also plays for Hurricanes in the WBBL.
Mandhana has been in super form in T20 cricket this year. She finished as the highest run-getter in the Women's Cricket Super League in England earlier this year, scoring 421 runs from nine innings for the Storms -- which is the highest across all editions of the WCSL and the WBBL as well.
The southpaw had a strike-rate of 174.69 and also slammed 21 sixes in the season -- both are all-time records in women's league cricket. She was announced as the player of the tournament as well. Incidentally, she will replace a fellow Indian -- Veda Krishnamurthy -- in the Hurricanes squad.
Mandhana's previous stint in the WBBL ended with an ACL injury just ahead of ICC Women's World Cup 2017 but she is excited to have got another opportunity this summer and wants to meet up with the squad as soon as possible.
"I'm really excited to have another opportunity in the WBBL this summer. I've heard from many players that the Hurricanes group is a great squad to be around and I can't wait to get to Tasmania for the matches," she said.
New Hurricanes coach Salliann Briggs was also excited at the prospect of Mandhana's joining.
"Mandhana is a proven performer on the world stage, we saw that just last week with her knock against the Aussies. I can't wait to see her in purple, she's an exciting addition not only for us but for the whole competition," Briggs said.
Hurricanes will begin their campaign against the Perth Scorchers on December 1 but Mandhana will only get to her play her first game for the team on December 8 -- a home game against Melbourne Stars.