Leigh Kasperek in action. ©ICC
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Leigh Kasperek, the off-spinner from New Zealand, has signed with Yorkshire Diamonds as an overseas injury replacement for Chloe Tryon in the 2019 edition of the Women’s Cricket Super League. Tryon will have to miss the entire tournament since she will soon be undergoing knee surgery. Kasperek thus completes the club’s overseas roster, joining the batting duo of Alyssa Healy and Jemimah Rodrigues.

Kasperek has been playing county cricket for Yorkshire over the past couple of seasons and believes that the club has what it takes to do well in this season’s WCSL.

“It’s really exciting and was a bit of a surprise when I found out. But a nice surprise,” Kasperek told yorkshireccc.com. “I’m lucky that I’ve been playing for Yorkshire’s county side for the last two years, so I know a lot of the girls.”

Born in Edinburgh, Kasperek made her debut for New Zealand in India in 2015. Since then, she has proven to be one of the most intelligent and effective spinners in the world, outwitting batters through variation of pace, angle and trajectory, rather than spin. 

In 34 T20Is, the off-spinner has taken 58 wickets at an average of 12.93 and career economy rate of 6.17. She doubles up as a capable batter as well— one with the ability to hit in unusual areas and find the boundary when needed.

“I’ve been part of the New Zealand set-up for four years, and we’ve had some good times and some bad. But I’ve definitely learnt a lot playing for them.”

“I’ve also been really lucky to have played all around the world for different teams, and it’s great to have that opportunity because you learn so much playing alongside different players and under coaches in different environments.”

“Even though Jemimah is only 18, she’s still played a lot of cricket; (and) 1o have Alyssa with us, given the form she’s been in over the last year, I’m much happier she’ll be keeping to my bowling rather than hitting me for six.”

During her time with Yorkshire, Kasperek will have the opportunity to pick the brains of former England off-spinner Danielle Hazell, coach of Yorkshire Diamonds— something she says she is “excited” about.

In the past three seasons, Yorkshire have failed to pass the group stage of the tournament, but Kasperek believes this time is different.

“We’re definitely a really talented bunch of girls, and I see no reason why we can’t win it,” she said. “We have players who can take games away from people. We have stars like Healy and (Katherine) Brunt and then players like Beth Langston, who is bowling quick at the moment, and Alice Davidson-Richards. She’s a class all-rounder.”

“It’s a strong competition with a lot of teams who’ve recruited well.”

Yorkshire Diamonds will kick off their campaign against Surrey Stars at Headingly on Tuesday (August 6).

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