Mandhana signs for Hobart Hurricanes in WBBL 2018-19

Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana pose for the cameras Annesha Ghosh

India opener Smriti Mandhana will turn out for Hobart Hurricanes in the fourth season of the Women's Big Bash League, having previously played for Brisbane Heat in season two. Meanwhile, Harmanpreet Kaur has extended her deal with Sydney Thunder and will return for her third successive season in the tournament.

While Mandhana had a lukewarm 2016-17 season in the Big Bash League with just 89 runs in 10 innings for Heat, she is known for her explosive batting at the top of the order and finished as the third highest run-scorer in the recently concluded World T20 with 178 runs in five innings. Her 55-ball 83 against Australia handed the eventual champions their only defeat in the tournament.

Mandhana said she was looking forward to her stint with the new team. "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," Mandhana said. Hurricanes' coach Salliann Briggs said that she was delighted with the new signing. "Mandhana is a proven performer on the world stage, we saw that just last week with her knock against the Aussies," she said. "I can't wait to see her in purple, she's an exciting addition not only for us but for the whole competition."

Harmanpreet and Mandhana also played in England's Kia Super League this year, where Mandhana topped the batting charts with 421 runs in nine innings at 60.14 average. They were also the captains of the two teams at the first-ever women's IPL exhibition match played earlier this year, where Harmanpreet's Supernovas beat Mandhana's Trailblazers at the Wankhede Stadium.