Lanning, Taylor, Bates among WSL overseas stars
Many of the leading players in the women's game have been confirmed as participants in this summer's inaugural Women's Super League. Following the lead of the Women's Big Bash League in Australia, the ECB has signed up players from around the world to participate in the six-team T20 competition.
Among them are Australia captain Meg Lanning and star allrounder Ellyse Perry; Stafanie Taylor, who led West Indies to the Women's World T20 title earlier this month, and her team-mate Deandra Dottin; and New Zealand's Suzie Bates - named this week by Wisden as the leading women's cricketer in the world - and Sophie Devine.
Each of the six WSL teams will have three overseas players on their books - although only 17 have been announced, due to Australia allrounder Jess Jonassen having to pull out of involvement with Lancashire Thunder due to injury. A replacement will be confirmed in due course.
Last week, the ECB revealed England player allocations for the WSL. The rest of the squads will be made up of players from the England Academy and the Development Programme.
Clare Connor, the ECB's director of England women's cricket, said: "One of the driving principles behind the establishment of the Kia Super League was to create a world class competition where the world's best play. Revealing who the overseas players will be undoubtedly hits this mark. The six teams are all brimming with talent, quality and the very best female cricketers from across the world; the Kia Super League is set to be a brilliant showcase for the women's game.
"Over the last few weeks, we have worked extensively with the Kia Super League teams to select the overseas players from a pool of over 65 who expressed an interest in being involved this summer. To see the final allocations in black and white is very exciting and I cannot wait to see these teams in action now."
Lanning, the leading T20 batsman in the world, will turn out for Surrey Stars, alongside Australia team-mate Rene Farrell and South Africa's Marizanne Kapp.
"I'm really looking forward to playing in the Kia Super League," Lanning said. "It's another huge step forward for the women's game following on from the Women's Big Bash League in Australia, and I can't wait to get stuck in with the Surrey Stars once the tournament gets underway.
"The interest in the Kia Super League and WBBL from overseas players demonstrates how valuable these new competitions are for the global development of women's cricket - as international players it's a really good time to be involved in the game."
Fixtures have also been confirmed for the tournament, which will run on a round-robin format between July 30 and August 14, followed by a finals day on August 21. The opening weekend will see Yorkshire Diamonds host Loughborough Lightning at Headingley on Saturday, followed by matches between Southern Vipers and Surrey Stars at the Ageas Bowl and Western Storm and Lancashire Thunder at Taunton on Sunday.