In a ground-breaking move, the Sydney Thunder has announced the introduction of “Chamari Bay”, a specially dedicated seating zone at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for their WBBL derby clash on 26th November 2023. The decision came in as a part of Sydney Thunder’s commitment to fostering a multicultural cricket community and creating unforgettable experiences for Sri Lanka cricket fans with an aim to promote a diverse cricketing culture.
The 33-year-old all-rounder Chamari Athapaththu, who is now the skipper of the Sri Lankan women’s cricket team, made her international debut on 15 June 2009 in a T20I against India. Over the years she has established herself as one of the best players for Sri Lanka and overall, a legend in the women’s game.
She has played close to 100 matches in the ODI format (98 matches), scoring over 3000 runs (3255 runs) with an impressive average of 34.26. Her tally of runs includes eight centuries and 15 half-centuries in the ODI format. In the T20I format, she has played 122 matches and scored over 2,500 runs (2651 runs) at a strike rate of 106.20 and an average of 22.65. Her best performance with the bat in T20Is came against Australia in the year 2019 when she scored 113 off just 66 balls at a rate of 171.21.
She has also made a mark for herself in franchise leagues around the world. She made her WBBL debut for the Melbourne Renegades in the year 2017. She moved to the Perth Scorchers for the 7th edition of the Women’s Big Bash League in the year 2021. She played 10 matches for the franchise and scored 182 runs at a strike rate of 117.41 and an impressive average of 30.33.
This year saw the introduction of the draft for the overseas players. The player selection process took place on 3rd September 2023 in Melbourne. The Sri Lankan skipper and star all-rounder Chamari Athapaththu initially went unsold in the Inaugural overseas draft. However, the Sydney Thunder led by skipper Heather Knight, eventually drafted her into the squad for the 9tth edition of the WBBL.
She immediately found her way into the playing 11 for the Sydney Thunder. She has scored 374 runs at a strike rate of 134.05 and an impressive average of 41.55 in the 9 innings so far for the Sydney Thunder this season. She is the highest run-scorer for the Sydney Thunder so far, this season, and also the third-highest run-scorer of the season so far. She has also picked up 6 wickets at an impressive strike rate of 22.8 and an average of 25.50 with the ball in 9 innings for the Sydney Thunder so far this season.
“I am truly honored and thrilled to have a dedicated seating zone named after me at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It’s a special moment for me, and I’m looking forward to the match at this iconic venue. I hope “Chamari Bay” becomes a gathering place for cricket enthusiasts and brings people together to celebrate the spirit of the game.” the Sri Lankan star all-rounder Chamari Athapaththu expresses her excitement about the initiative taken by the Sydney Thunder.