India's star opener Smriti Mandhana has agreed to re-join Western Storm for the 2019 season of the Kia Super League (KSL), the team announced in a release.
Mandhana was the first Indian player to participate in the KSL and she had a record-shattering year where the left-hander shellacked a whopping 421 runs at 60.14 in just nine innings to help her side to Finals Day for a third consecutive season.
"Everyone involved with Western Storm made me feel so welcome and, if given the opportunity, I was always going to come back. The culture around the team, from top to bottom, was very good and I know that everyone will be looking for success once again," the 22-year-old said in the release.
"The squad has a good mix of experienced players plus young players who have a point to prove. I hope that I can score the runs that will help to contribute to a successful year for Western Storm," she added.
In a fruitful maiden year, Mandhana also became the first player to score a century in KSL.
Excited to be back!!!🙌🙂 https://t.co/9Ehs2BDw2Y
— Smriti Mandhana (@mandhana_smriti) July 2, 2019
"Everyone knows what Smriti is capable of and she was absolutely sensational for us last year. Her performances on the field were superb and really set the tone for what we were trying to achieve in each match," Western Storm Head Coach, Trevor Griffin, said.
"It wasn't just the volume of her runs that was impressive, it was the manner in which they were scored that really caught the eye," he added.
India's all-rounder Deepti Sharma will also be seen representing the Western Storm this year.
Earlier in June, Western Storm had announced that England captain Heather Knight and pacer Anya Shrubsole will be returning to the team for the 2019 season.
This year's KSL edition will start on 6 August and will see six teams – Lancashire Thunder, Loughborough Lightning, Western Storm, Surrey Stars, Yorkshire Diamonds, Southern Vipers – playing each other twice in a league format.
The top three teams qualify for finals day on 1 September, with the second and third-placed sides competing for the chance to face the first-placed league winners in the final. Southern Vipers, Western Storm and Surrey Stars have won the tournament once each in 2016, 2017, 2018, respectively.
With inputs from ANI
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