Overlooked in the inaugural overseas player draft, Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu took her eventual chance with both hands in WBBL|09
Chamari Athapaththu had a point to prove when she arrived in Australia in early October.
That is no longer the case, with the Sri Lanka superstar crowned the Weber WBBL|09 Player of the Tournament.
The Sydney Thunder import won a tight race by a single vote over Adelaide Strikers opener Katie Mack for the award, voted on a 3-2-1 basis by the standing umpires in each match.
Athapaththu finished the regular season second on the runs table with 511 runs at 42.58, striking at 129.69– an incredible return for a player overlooked in the inaugural overseas player draft following similar snubs at the WPL and The Hundred.
She also picked up nine wickets including 3-20 against the Sixers and maintained an economy rate of 6.79.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Heat allrounder Charli Knott has been named the WBBL|09 Young Gun after a breakout season with bat and ball.
Athapaththu was a last-minute addition to WBBL|09, brought on by the Thunder as a replacement overseas player, a move made possible because they had room in the salary cap.
She got a run first game when No.1 draft pick Marizanne Kapp was unwell and kept her spot ever since, with English quick Lauren Bell, drafted 18th overall, forced to the sidelines.
Athapaththu has long been a force at international level, with nine centuries to her name.
But the left-hander never quite managed to translate those performances into the WBBL. In 34 Big Bash innings prior to this season, she had hit just two half-centuries and averaged 18 with a strike rate of 95.
But confidence drawn from a superb year at international level – both personally and for Sri Lanka – has been key in unlocking Athapaththu’s best so far in WBBL|09.
Her twin unbeaten tons led Sri Lanka to their first ever ODI series win against New Zealand in July, before she was again the leading run scorer as her team shocked England and claimed an historic T20I series victory in September.
The backing of Thunder coach Lisa Keightley and captain Heather Knight has also given Athapaththu the conviction to stick to her natural game.
“The last year I’ve been playing really good cricket in Sri Lanka as a captain and as a team, so I’m enjoying that and I’m keeping that momentum (going),” Athapaththu told cricket.com.au earlier this month.
“Always positive and fearless – that’s my game plan every time.
“I’ve worked hard in the nets in the last six, seven months and we beat New Zealand in Sri Lanka, we beat England on their home soil.
“So as a captain and as a player, I’m feeling pretty good and confident about myself and my team so I keep continuing this form in the WBBL.
“(Lisa) always says to play my natural game and play like a leader because I’m the Sri Lankan skipper … I love that responsibility because when I was playing for Sri Lanka, I always have responsibility – the whole batting line-up depends on my shoulders – so I love that energy.”
Inaugural Lanka T10 league in December
The inaugural edition of the Lanka T10 League will be held from December 12 to December 22, 2024.
The tournament, which was initially planned to be held in 2023, will now be held in December this year, which provides us with an ideal window to conduct a successful competition.
Lanka T10 League, Sri Lanka’s newest addition to its annual cricket calendar will feature some of the finest international stars along with Sri Lanka’s top international stars.
The action-packed competition will also provide opportunities for the brightest young talents in the country to mix, mingle, and play along with international stars.
” I have full confidence that this tournament will be a resounding success, contributing to Sri Lanka Cricket’s ability to stay current with the evolving trends in the game.,” said Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.
Adding more thoughts on the Lanka T10 December tournament, Mr Shammi Silva added, “We foresee that this event will not solely captivate cricket enthusiasts, but also serve as a catalyst for popularizing the tournament broadly.”
Mr. Anil Mohan, the Founder and CEO of IPG Group and one of the constituent member of the consortium holding the Event rights for the Lanka T10 League, “This is a great stepping stone for us as we get to organise another exciting chapter in Sri Lankan Cricket. Our league unites the top international stars and local talent on an exciting platform for cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Together, we aim to make history and elevate the game with every thrilling match.”
The tournament will feature six men’s teams covering regional cricket epicenters, with each team consisting of a squad of 16 players, along with six foreign players.
“We’re thrilled to bring T10 cricket to Sri Lanka, and we’re grateful to SLC for their support. This league holds added significance as it is formally endorsed by esteemed members like SLC, highlighting the credibility and excitement surrounding this new era in Sri Lankan cricket.” Shaji ul Mulk, Chairman of TTen Global Sports, representing the Lead Partner, of the Event Rights Consortium.
The matches will be played in some of Sri Lanka’s top international cricket venues and under lights.
Pathum Nissanka likely to miss Bangladesh tour
Sri Lankan prolific opener Pathum Nissanka is likely to miss the Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh, which will commence on March 04, ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ learns.
It is said that he is to undergo a month of rest, after retiring hurt during the last T20I against Afghanistan held recently in Dambulla.
Meanwhile, the most senior pacer in the squad – Dushmantha Chameera too is to miss the Bangladesh tour after getting injured during the Afghanistan tour and it has been decided to call in Asitha Fernando as his replacement.
In addition, Sri Lanka’s T20I captain Wanindu Hasaranga too, will miss the first T20Is against Bangladesh after the ICC suspended him for 02 matches over his run-in with umpire Lyndon Hannibal in the third T20I against Afghanistan on February 21.
TM Dilshan granted Australian citizenship
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan has been granted Australian citizenship, confirmed by Australian MP Jason Wood in a social media post.
Dilshan, renowned for his explosive batting style, played a pivotal role in numerous victories for the Sri Lankan cricket team throughout his career.
The 47-year-old’s acquisition of Australian citizenship marks a new chapter in his life post-retirement from professional cricket.
“Today’s citizenship ceremony was made even more special with the attendance of Tillakaratne Dilshan, a former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain of the Sri Lanka national cricket team.
“Dilshan is regarded as the best Sri Lankan player in run-chases in ODI history.
He also holds the record for being the top run-scorer in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup with 500 runs and scored a century against England in the semi-final.
Additionally, he was part of the Sri Lankan team that won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20,” posted MP Jason Wood on social media.
MP Jason Wood, welcoming Dilshan as a new Australian citizen and local resident, expressed hope that the veteran would consider joining a local team.
“It was great to hear that his daughter Resandi is following in her father’s footsteps,” he added.
Tillakaratne Dilshan amassed over 10,000 runs from 330 ODIs since his one-day international debut in 1999 against Zimbabwe.
His Test career spanned 87 matches, during which he accumulated 5492 runs, including a high-score of 193.
In 80 T20I matches, Dilshan made 1889 runs, featuring one century and 13 half-centuries.
Renowned for his unorthodox style, including the innovative scoop shot, Dilshan proved to be an extremely effective and versatile batsman across formats throughout his career.
Source: ABP News Bureau
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