A total of 6 England Cricketers will be travelling to Australia for the 5th edition of the Women’s Big Bash League this year, including captain Heather Knight. Among the 6 members of the England squad, leg-spinner Sarah Glenn, who had been adjudged player of the series in the recently concluded 5-match T20I series against the West Indies, will be taking part in the T20 League for the first time, signed up by the Perth Scorchers.
The remaining four players are all-rounder Natalie Sciver and fast bowler Katherine Brunt, both of whom were announced as overseas signings by the Melbourne Stars earlier, and opening batswomen Tammy Beaumont and wicketkeeper Amy Jones. While Beaumont will turn up for the Melbourne Renegades, Jones will give company to Glenn in her first WBBL season at Perth Scorchers. Heather Knight confirmed during the presentation after the final T20I against West Indies yesterday that she had signed a deal with the Hobart Hurricanes to play in the BBL this year.
Meanwhile, it is understood that the ECB is open to allowing players to appear in the Women’s T20 Challenge scheduled by the BCCI, and will sign No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) assuming it is satisfied with the COVID-19 protocols in place. According to ESPNCricinfo, the BCCI is likely to stage the three-team tournament from November 4-9 – during the IPL playoffs week – with plans in place to involve overseas players despite the clash with the WBBL, which begins on October 25 in Sydney.
Although the BCCI is yet to make any formal announcements on the tournament’s fixtures or quarantine requirements, it is understood that both the Indian and overseas players will arrive in the UAE by the third week of October. All the three squads would be put up at one hotel, which will be part of a biosecure bubble. Just like the eight IPL franchises, the women’s contingent will undergo a mandatory six-day quarantine at the team hotel during which tests would be carried out on days one, three and five.
The selection process for the squads of the T20 Challenge has started, and English players are expected to be big draws. Left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and Danni Wyatt, both of whom appeared in the 2019 edition, would be among the top overseas players involved if recruited, not least in the absence of Australian internationals due to the WBBL running parallel. Wyatt sat out the fifth T20I against West Indies yesterday for personal reasons.
England players not involved in either competition will have two weeks off at the start of October after leaving the biosecure bubble in Derby, before reporting to Loughborough for a training camp for seven weeks of training before Christmas with no international cricket scheduled for the rest of the year. Heather Knight spoke on the same, saying, “The girls will have a few weeks off, then go back to Loughborough. It’s fair to acknowledge it’s been quite tough, living in a bubble the whole time. It’s been particularly hard for the girls not playing, so credit to them.”
Lisa Keightley, England’s head coach said, “I think they need (the time off). It’s been quite draining here – tougher than you might think – so it’s good to have a bit of a break, which they’re all looking forward to. It’ll be awesome for those players that are going to get a bit more cricket. It’s been pretty lean so, I’m sure they’re really looking forward to going out there and playing.
“We know [the WBBL] is a really good competition so the standard will be good. If you’re performing in that you know you’re travelling pretty well so it’s very exciting for those girls going out.”