The number of Indian participants in the 2019 edition of the Women’s Cricket Super League in England has increased to four with Deepti Sharma having been signed by Western Storm. The franchise made the announcement via social media on Friday (June 28).
Women’s CricZone has learnt that Stafanie Taylor was unavailable for the complete season as she would have to miss the finals day due to an international commitment coinciding.
BREAKING: We are delighted to announce the signing of @BCCIWomen star Deepti Sharma for the 2019 Kia Super League!
— Western Storm (@WesternStormKSL) June 28, 2019
Since her T20I debut in 2016, Sharma has blossomed into one of India’s frontline bowlers in the shortest format. She is a crucial member of India’s T20I spin trio that also includes Poonam Yadav and Radha Yadav. In 30 T20Is, the off-spinner has taken 28 wickets at an average of 22.92; most impressively her career economy rate is a meagre 6.14.
“Deepti is a quality player with a huge amount of experience at the very highest level and she will bring something a little bit different to our squad this year,” said Trevor Griffin, head coach of Western Storm.
“She’s still only 21 but she will bring a huge amount of experience and knowledge to our dressing room. She is currently rated as the second-best all-rounder in the world in one-day cricket by the ICC, so her quality is there for all to see.”
This will be Sharma’s second trip to England, having already toured the country in 2017. Then, still only 19, she played a vital role in India’s run to the World Cup final scoring 216 runs and taking 12 wickets in the tournament.
While Sharma’s batting has taken a back seat of late, it is her bowling that has come to the fore. Given the responsibility of often bowling in the Power Play and at the death, the off-spinner has risen to the challenge— varying her speeds and trajectory to keep the batters guessing, and refusing to give them easy scoring opportunities. Most recently, in the Women’s T20 Challenge in Jaipur, she picked up three wickets in an over against Velocity to finish with figures of 4 for 14.
Widely acknowledged as one of the best fielders in the Indian team with a rocket arm, she is often seen diving and sliding in the outfield and effecting crucial run outs from the 23-yard circle. Most recently, in the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean last November, she took two wonderful catches in the deep against New Zealand.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Women’s Cricket Super League,” said Sharma. “Every player wants to play alongside and against the best in the world, and this will give me the opportunity to do that. I have heard good things about Western Storm from Smriti and I can’t wait to contribute to the team’s success on the field.”
As is with Jemimah Rodrigues, Sharma’s stint in England is set to be her first experience in a foreign T20 league.
Western Storm will kick off their campaign against Loughborough Lightning at Loughborough University on August 6. Sharma joins Smriti Mandhana and Rachel Priest as their third overseas signing.