Katey Martin in action for Otago Sparks. © Getty Images

Otago Sparks will be strengthened by the return of Katey Martin, the New Zealand wicket-keeper, who missed the first few rounds of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield due to her Women’s Big Bash League commitments. With Melbourne Stars having been knocked out of the competition, Martin rejoins her domestic team for their clash against Auckland Hearts in Auckland on Saturday (December 7).

Through the course of the WBBL season, Martin played only 9 matches for Stars, scoring 74 runs at a strike rate of 104.22, also effecting three dismissals— one catch and two stumpings. Despite her relatively poor returns in Australia, Sparks will be thrilled to have gained the services of the veteran who has the experience of 150 internationals under her belt. She will add great value with the bat in the middle of a young line-up, but also a much needed calmness on the field. Following a couple of very close encounters in which they came out on the wrong side, Sparks will only benefit from the qualities Martin brings to the group.

The 34-year-old’s addition to the squad is one of two changes to Sparks’ line-up with Bella James also returning to captain the side. She will take over from Ella Brown who led the team is her absence. Georgia Clarke and Sophie Oldershaw miss out from last week’s squad.

With Adelaide Strikers having qualified for the knockout stage of the WBBL, Suzie Bates continues to be unavailable for the tournament. She will likely join the squad in time for the start of the domestic T20 competition.

Squad: Bella James, (C), Emma Black, Caitlin Blakely, Ella Brown, Eden Carson, Millie Cowan, Olivia Gain, Sophie Gray, Bhagya Herath, Hayley Jensen, Marina Lamplough, Katey Martin.

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