Big name overseas stars join Western Storm

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The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today announced that eighteen of the best international women’s cricketers from across the world will be playing in the Kia Super League this summer and Western Storm supporters are in for a real treat.

Each of the six Kia Super League teams have signed three overseas players to compete in the round-robin T20 event in July and August, with the top performers from the recent ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament all set to be involved.

Lining up for the Western Storm this summer will be ICC Women’s World Twenty20 player of the tournament and Captain of the victorious West Indies side, Stafanie Taylor.  She will be joined by New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman Rachel Priest and hard-hitting South African middle order batsman Lizelle Lee.

Stephanie Taylor  Women's ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: Australia v New Zealand  Lizelle Lee

Following the announcement Rachel Priest said: “I’m really excited to find out that I will be playing for the Western Storm in the Kia Super League this summer.  It’s brilliant that these new high quality domestic women’s competitions are being established.  After the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia last winter, the Kia Super League will really contribute to the ongoing professionalism of the game and the overall global development of women’s cricket.

“I’m definitely looking forward to getting to play alongside Heather Knight.  She always seems to get me out when we play against each other, so it will be a great experience to be on her team for a change, and to get to know all of the players in the Storm squad.”

Last week it was announced that England Internationals Anya Shrubsole, Heather Knight and Fran Wilson would be playing for the Western Storm in 2016 and General Manager Lisa Pagett is delighted that they will be joined by three quality overseas players.  “We are really excited to have Rachel, Stafanie and Lizelle playing for Western Storm this summer,” she said.  “They are exciting cricketers and potential match winners in their own right.  To have players of this calibre playing alongside Anya, Fran and Heather makes for a really exciting Western Storm line up. We look forward to welcoming all three players to the West Country for our Kia Super League campaign”

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Western Storm General Manager Lisa Pagett with Anya Shrubsole and Heather Knight

ECB Director of England Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor said: “One of the driving principles behind the establishment of the Kia Super League was to create a world class competition where the world’s best play.  Revealing who the 18 overseas players will be today undoubtedly hits this mark.  The six teams are all brimming with talent, quality and the very best female cricketers from across the world; the Kia Super League is set to be a brilliant showcase for the women’s game.

“Over the last few weeks, we have worked extensively with the Kia Super League teams to select the 18 overseas players from a pool of over 65 who expressed an interest in being involved this summer.  To see the final allocations in black and white is very exciting and I cannot wait to see these teams in action now.”

The inaugural season of the Kia Super League will see the six teams take part in a round-robin Twenty20 competition over a 16 day period from Saturday 30th July to Sunday 14th August, with a Finals Day on Sunday 21st August at the Essex County Ground, Chelmsford.

The competition will expand from being a T20 event in 2016 to incorporating both T20 and 50-over formats in future seasons.  All six teams have been awarded hosting rights for a four-year period from 2016-2019 inclusive.

The key aims of the Kia Super League include the development of ever higher standards for the England women’s team with greater competition for places, alongside inspiring more women and girls to play cricket at all levels.  It will offer new opportunities, new role models, and a network of six brand new women’s teams linked to their communities.

Pictures Courtesy of Getty Images