Bangalore: The UP Warriorz, who finished third in the inaugural edition of the WPL, have drafted in Sri Lankan women’s cricket team skipper Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for English fast bowler Lauren Bell ahead of the upcoming season of the Women’s Premier League 2024, scheduled to be held from Friday, February 23 to Sunday, March 17. The English cricketer had been part of the UP Warriorz set-up in Season 1 of the WPL, which was played in Mumbai in 2023.
One of the most experienced and dynamic cricketers in the T20 format, Athapaththu will be making her debut in the Women’s Premier League. She has played 122 T20Is for her country, and has been in fine form in 2023. The hard-hitting batter finished with 470 runs in 2023, with an impressive strike-rate of 130.91. Her 15 sixes in the year is also a personal high in Women’s T20Is.
More recently, the left-hand batter finished as the second-highest run getter in the Women’s Big Bash League 2023, with 552 runs to her name in 14 innings, averaging 42.46 in the tournament. The right arm off-break bowler also bagged 9 wickets for the Sydney Thunders.
“I am grateful to the UP Warriorz and Capri Sports for choosing to put their faith in me for the upcoming season of the Women’s Premier League. I look forward to giving my best to the team and working closely with head coach Jon Lewis and skipper Alyssa Healy and help my team lift the coveted title. The WPL is a very dynamic tournament, and the UP Warriorz is a strong squad,” the Sri Lankan all-rounder said.
“It is unfortunate that Lauren won’t be a part of our squad this season but we wish her the best for the summer. That said, We are very excited to bring Chamari Athapaththu on board with the UP Warriorz. She has been a stalwart of T20I cricket for over a decade and we look forward to bringing her on board with us. She has been a great ambassador for women’s cricket all over the world, and we are delighted to have her experience and knowhow among our ranks this season,” said Kshemal Waingankar, COO, UP Warriorz.
On Saturday, February 24, the UP Warriorz will play their first WPL match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.