Chamari Atapattu in action. ©ICC

Chamari Atapattu, the left-hand batter from Sri Lanka, will replace Sophie Devine in the Loughborough Lightning squad for the 2019 edition of the Women’s Cricket Super League. Devine, who has been part of the Lightning squad since the start of the tournament had to withdraw from the tournament due to ongoing injury concerns. The announcement was made via social media on Tuesday (July 2).

 

“It is gutting not to have Sophie in our squad this year as she made such a big impact last season and we were looking forward to seeing her prowess again with bat and ball,” said Rob Taylor, head coach of Loughborough.

 

Atapattu is the only Sri Lankan to have played in a foreign T20 league, previously having represented Melbourne Renegades in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia and Yorkshire Diamonds in the previous edition of the WCSL.

 

Although she made her international debut in 2009, it was Atapattu’s unbeaten 178 in the 2017 World Cup against Australia that saw her shoot to fame on a global level. The Sri Lankan skipper is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball, with the ability to score all around the ground. She can also double up as a handy off-spinner and is sharp in the field as well.

 

“I’m really excited to have Chamari in our squad this summer,” said Taylor on the Sri Lankan’s inclusion. “She is an explosive player with plenty of talent and will compliment the other batters we have in our top order. She has played in the KSL before and has performed well against us in the past, so it is great to have her on our side.”

 

In 78 T20Is, the Sri Lankan skipper has scored 1333 runs at a strike rate of 92.50 and has also taken 21 wickets. As is evident from her numbers, she has blown hot and cold at the international level, failing to live up to her potential. However, Atapattu will be hoping that her stint in the WCSL will help her develop into a more rounded, confident and consistent player— much like it did for Smriti Mandhana in 2018.

 

She joins Hayley Matthews and Mignon du Preez as Loughborough’s overseas recruits. All three will be playing their first season for the team— Matthews and du Preez having represented Southern Vipers previously.

 

Loughborough will kick off their campaign against Western Storm at home on August 6.

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