The 9th edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) is just a couple of sleeps away, and while fans eagerly await another competitive season of Bash cricket, the tournament has been marred by a few controversies in the lead-up to the event.
After the chatter surrounding Sydney Sixers’ skipper Ellyse Perry’s forced absence from the curtain-raiser due to three over-rate penalties from the last season, Melbourne Stars’ skipper Meg Lanning has now voiced concerns over a loophole as star English all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt’s is set to join the Scorchers, following her availability reversal.
The recent form displayed by Nat Sciver-Brunt over the past few months has been nothing short of incredible. She was expected to be a top pick in the inaugural W-BBL draft but decided to skip the season due to a knee problem she had been managing during the English summer, which resulted in limitations on her bowling.
Meg Lanning said, “Pretty disappointed, actually. She’s obviously one of the best players in the world and you want the best players playing in the competition, but she made herself unavailable initially, and all the players of her calibre went through the draft or the pre-signing, and she didn’t nominate for that.”
Melbourne Stars would have preferred to retain the services of Nat Sciver-Brunt, but it didn’t materialize as she neither nominated herself for the draft nor opted for a pre-signing. However, a few days after the draft, Perth Scorchers’ Danni Wyatt withdrew from the season, citing fatigue. At that point, Nat Sciver-Brunt had shown improvement in her recovery from the injury, and this enabled the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to allow her to participate in the W-BBL.
Meg added, “At the Stars, we feel like, well, I certainly feel like we didn’t get the chance to exercise our retention rights that we would have had to her had she nominated for the draft instead of coming in this way. So not only does that impact us this year, but moving forward as well now, Perth have retention rights to her.
“It’s frustrating, because I think that the goalposts seem to shift a little bit and we didn’t get a chance to get access to her. It’s disappointing but I guess that’s the way it goes and we will look forward to coming up against Perth and playing well against her and the team and that’s all I have to say on that.”
The W-BBL’s rules aren’t in the public eye and from what’s understood, every signing is well within the rules. The W-BBL technical and rules committee on noticing the change in her injury scenario, granted Nat permission to directly negotiate with the clubs. Reportedly, she has sealed the deal with the Scorchers’, the club she previously represented in the W-BBL 03 and 05, and is poised to link up with the club as a replacement player for eight games in the second half of the season.
In her 29 appearances for the Scorchers, Nat amassed a total of 681 runs from 29 innings at an average of 35.84 and a strike rate of 120.74. With the ball, she has taken 10 wickets from 21 innings at an economy rate of 7.25. In 111 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), Nat has piled on 2230 runs, while also striking 81 wickets.
(Quotes sourced from cricket.com.au)
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