Smriti Mandhana is set to become the first Indian to appear in the Kia Super League in England this summer after being signed by defending champions Western Storm. Mandhana will be Storm's second overseas player this season. India's T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur had been signed by Surrey Stars last year but she had to pull out because of a shoulder injury.
"I am very excited to be playing for the Kia Super League champions," Mandhana was quoted by the Storm website. "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."
Mandhana, who will turn 22 next month, is one of the most sought-after Indian players apart from Harmanpreet. Mandhana has already represented Brisbane Heat in the Women's Big Bash League. More recently, she also led the Trailblazers side in the women's IPL exhibition match played in Mumbai last month.
"We are really excited that Smriti will be joining us. She is one of the brightest young talents in the game at the moment," Storm head coach Trevor Griffin said. "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."
Mandhana has scored 826 runs in T20 internationals so far, at a strike rate of 112.84 with five half-centuries. In ODIs, she has 1464 runs to her name with three centuries and 11 half-centuries, at an average of 37.53 and strike rate of 81.33.
After showcasing her impressive strokeplay during the World Cup in England last year, Mandhana carried her ODI form into 2018 by scoring a century in South Africa, and four half-centuries in five home matches against Australia and England. She scored well in the T20s too, against South Africa and then in the tri-series against England and Australia at home, but could not extend it to the Asia Cup where India failed to defend against Bangladesh in the final.