The Melbourne Stars today announced the signings of English all-rounder Natalie Sciver, South African captain Mignon du Preez and New Zealand bowler Morna Nielsen for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
The trio will join captain Meg Lanning, Kathleen Hempenstall, Emma Inglis, Emma Kearney and Anna Lanning in the Stars’ line-up this summer.
During the recent Ashes series, Sciver was named Player-of -the-Match on two occasions. The right-hander scored 66 in the first one-dayer against Australia and then in the third T20, she reached her highest T20I knock (47) and claimed her best T20I bowling figures (4-15).
In 28 T20 matches for England, the 23-year-old right-arm medium pacer has amassed 350 runs and claimed 25 wickets.
“I'm really looking forward to having the opportunity to play in the first ever WBBL. It's very exciting to be a part of something special in women's cricket,” Sciver said.
“Having never played domestic cricket in Australia before, I'm looking forward to challenging myself in the competition.
“From the Ashes series I have learnt the importance of a positive mindset and the levels of self-belief needed to win games of cricket. This is something I am looking to bring to Australia.”
South Africa’s du Preez will bring a wealth of experience to the Stars’ line-up having represented her country on 117 occasions.
The top-order bat has played 55 T20 internationals and has accumulated 925 runs including a high score of 69.
“I have been blessed to participate in this wonderful game since I was four and a half years old. Over the span of 117 international caps, playing on various continents under different conditions, I have learnt to use all my senses and how to apply them in my game,” du Preez said.
“If I can contribute and help younger stars to understand and make sure their senses are best managed, it will be such a privilege.”
Currently ranked as the world’s third best women’s T20 bowler on the ICC Player Rankings, Nielsen’s left-arm orthodox will play a vital role in putting pressure on the opposition’s batters this summer.
The 25-year-old, who has played 34 T20s for New Zealand and has best figures of 4-10, said that she was excited to be a part of the inaugural WBBL.
“I can't wait to get playing alongside and against some of the best players in the world,” Nielsen said.
“Personally, I am looking to contribute to the team by putting in some consistent performances with the ball. I think we have a very well rounded squad and definitely have the potential to go far in the competition so am also hoping to play some finals cricket.”
Stars coach David Hemp said that it was exciting to have three internationals sign, each of them bringing something different to the team.
“It’s great to have Natalie, Mignon and Morna on board this summer. All three have different backgrounds and experiences which will add value to our team and it will be great for all of the girls to learn from each other,” Hemp said.
The Melbourne Stars will open the WBBL tournament on December 5 against the Brisbane Heat at the Junction Oval.
Melbourne Stars WBBL contracted players to date
Mignon du Preez