Cricket Australia has targeted the inclusion of the sport at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics as part of a strategic plan to expand participation and maintain the game’s position at the heart of the country’s sporting culture.
The ambitious “Where the Game Grows” plan released on Monday aims to double the number of children aged five to 12 playing the game to 210,000 over the next five years, with girls making up 60,000 of that tally.
Another of the targets is to get cricket back into the Olympics for the first time since 1900 – if that goal has not already been achieved at the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Cricket has been shortlisted for possible inclusion at the 2028 Olympics along eight other sports and the International Cricket Council (ICC) will make a presentation to organizers later this month.
The host city can include any sport but needs the approval of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Brisbane has plans to rebuild the city’s Gabba cricket ground as a 50,000-seater Olympic Stadium to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2032 Games.
The inclusion of cricket in the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics is part of the “sustainable future” strand of the plan, which also aims to improve fan experience, expand the grassroots and continue Australia’s success on the world stage.
CA has set a target of at least three ICC tournament triumphs over the next five years for both the men’s and women’s national teams.
Elsewhere, it has committed to publishing an action plan related to environmental sustainability.
“Cricket is a quintessential part of the Australian summer. However, recent years have shown how vulnerable our game is to a changing climate,” the document said.
There is also a strong focus on the BBL and WBBL with this season labeled the “Rebound” following the impact of Covid, especially on attendance, before a period that has been called “Reimagine”. The challenges are particularly acute for the BBL given the rapid growth of T20 leagues in the January window.
“This strategy contains both a vision and a clear plan for how we can achieve bold, transformative change while also meeting our core responsibilities,” said CA chief executive Nick Hockley.
“I would like to thank everyone across the game for their passion and commitment as we work to unite and inspire everyone to love and play cricket, and in so doing make cricket a sport for all that makes Australians proud.”
Alana King paid a touching tribute to her hero Shane Warne after taking her first ever hat-trick, with the feat coming at Emirates Old Trafford, the ground where the late Australian icon made his name almost 30 years ago.
The 26-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medalist – who narrowly missed out on taking a hat-trick in the group stage against Barbados – bowled Cordelia Griffith, trapped Sophie Ecclestone lbw and bowled Kate Cross to etch her name into history with the first hat -trick in one-and-a-bit seasons of the women’s Hundred.
“Will I get my name up here at Old Trafford?” she asked. “That would be brilliant. Hopefully right next to Warnie. He took poles here for fun, and I’m sure he was looking down pretty happy.”
King was of course referring to Warne’s ball of the century to Mike Gatting here in 1993.
“He was a massive inspiration, but it wasn’t just me. It was kids all around the world who he inspired to pick up legspin. He was definitely the reason I picked up legspin. Hopefully he’s been proud watching down on me spin a few.
“When I was a bit younger, I did a couple of sessions with him. All I remember from that was him saying, ‘Spin it hard and have some fun’. I live by that every single day.
“That’s my first hat-trick. Not even in juniors did I take one. My first hat-trick at Old Trafford, I couldn’t have written it.
“As soon as I got that first wicket, I knew I had to keep aiming for the stumps. I’m just stoked that I can play my part for this team. Kate Cross came up to me after the game and said, ‘I can’t believe I gave that wicket to you’.”
Not only did King shine with the ball, she contributed two sixes in a crucial unbeaten 19 off nine deliveries at the end of the Rockets innings, boosting them to 119 for 5. She also took a smart low catch out at deep midwicket.
King added: “The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. To get our first win was pretty special. We knew we were under par with the bat, and we needed to stick to our game plan with the ball. We wanted to take some early wickets in the powerplay, which we did. As soon as we got their two openers out, we knew the pressure was back on them.”
Originals’ coach Paul Shaw said: “In the first half, I thought we bowled and fielded really well, and we were happy chasing 120. But then the second bit, we didn’t play like we wanted to play.
“Alana King’s a quality performer who will be around for a long time. She bowled really, really well. But we didn’t play her that well.”
Lisa Keightley will leave her position as England Women’s head coach at the end of the summer after deciding not to pursue the option of a contract extension.
Keightley was appointed in late 2019, and guided England to the final of the 2022 ODI World Cup. She also oversaw runs to the semi-finals of the 2020 T20 World Cup and Commonwealth Games, where England were beaten in the bronze-medal match on Sunday.
She will continue to coach the team until the end of the home season, with limited-overs series against India scheduled next month. It is understood the decision to part ways was mutually agreed on before the Commonwealth Games.
The ECB will now begin the process of recruiting a new head coach ahead of the next Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in February.
Although England failed to defend the World Cup they won in 2017, and missed out on successive T20 titles, Keightley’s period in charge was marked by an injection of younger talent into the side, with Sophia Dunkley establishing herself as a first-choice pick and the likes of Issy Wong, Alice Capsey and Freya Kemp coming through.
Jonathan Finch, the ECB’s director of England women’s cricket, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the commitment and passion Lisa has shown over the last two-and-a-half years in the role. We have seen increased competition for places over the Last 12 months and the squad Lisa leaves is an exciting blend of youth and experience.
“Leading an international team is challenging at the best of times. It is more challenging during a pandemic, and Lisa has been able to continue the development of the team during what has been the toughest period we have faced off the field.”
Clare Connor, ECB interim chief executive, said: “I’d like to place on record our sincere thanks to Lisa for all her efforts across the last two-and-a-half years.
“Lisa was always a fierce opponent when she represented Australia, and she’s brought that same pride, passion and will to win into everything she’s done with the England Women’s team.
“The team have enjoyed working with her immensely and I know they’ll join me in wishing her all the very best for her next challenge.”
Keightley’s departure follows that of her senior assistant and fellow Australian, Tim Macdonald, who announced in June that he would be leaving after the Commonwealth Games to take up an assistant coaching post with the Perth Scorchers and Western Australian men’s teams.
Australia captain Meg Lanning will take an indefinite break from the game for personal reasons.
It means Lanning, who recently led Australia to the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games to follow their T20 and ODI World Cup titles in 2020 and 2022, will miss the Hundred where she would have played for Trent Rockets. Australia’s domestic season starts in late September with the WNCL ahead of the WBBL in October.
Australia’s next series is an away T20I tour of India in mid-December ahead of hosting Pakistan next January before the T20 World Cup in South Africa.
“After a busy couple of years, I’ve made the decision to take a step back to enable me to spend time focusing on myself,” Lanning said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the support of CA and my team-mates and ask that my privacy is respected during this time.”
Cricket Australia’s head of performance, women’s cricket, Shawn Flegler said: “We’re proud of Meg for acknowledging that she needs a break and will continue to support her during this time.
“She’s been an incredible contributor to Australian cricket over the last decade, achieving remarkable feats both individually and as part of the team, and has been a brilliant role model for young kids.
“The welfare of our players is always our number one priority, and we’ll continue to work with Meg to ensure she gets the support and space she needs.”
Melbourne Stars general manager Blair Crouch said: “We’re fully supportive of Meg’s desire to have a break from cricket and we will give her all the time, support and space she needs.”
Lanning made her international debut in 2010 and was named captain as a 21-year-old in 2014. She has led the team in 171 matches across all formats with 135 victories. Since 2017 she has only missed five internationals.
New Zealand Cricket has agreed to release Trent Boult from his central contract after the fast bowler requested to spend more time with his family and to make himself available for T20 leagues with his international career now to be “significantly reduced”.
Boult, 33, had held several conversations with NZC prior to Wednesday’s announcement. The move will have huge ramifications for New Zealand given the proliferation of T20 leagues that are popping up within the time period of their summer domestic season.
NZC released a statement explaining that Boult had made it clear to NZC chief executive David White that his appetite for touring had diminished and he wished to spend more time with his family.
“This has been a really tough decision for me and I’d like to thank NZC for their support in getting to this point,” Boult said.
“Playing cricket for my country was a childhood dream and I’m so proud of everything I’ve been able to achieve with the Black Caps over the past 12 years.
“Ultimately this decision is about my wife Gert and our three young boys. Family has always been the biggest motivator for me and I feel comfortable with putting it first and preparing ourselves for life after cricket.”
Boult has not retired from international cricket but he is likely to play a lot less with White confirming that Boult was aware of the ramifications of his decision and that NZC would prioritize contracted players.
“We’ve had several conversations and I know Trent understands that, in terms of selection, NZC will continue to make a priority of those players with either central or domestic contracts,” White said.
Boult understood that his decision would affect his selection for New Zealand.
“I still have a big desire to represent my country and feel I have the skills to deliver at the international level,” he said. “However, I respect the fact that not having a national contract will affect my chances of selection.
“Having said that, as a fast bowler I know I have a limited career span, and I feel the time is right to move into this next phase.”
White said he was sad to be losing Boult as a centrally contracted player but understood his decision.
“We respect Trent’s position,” White said. “He’s been completely honest and up-front with us about his reasoning about him and, while we’re sad to be losing him as a fully-contracted player, he leaves with our best wishes and our sincere thanks.
“Trent’s made a massive contribution to the Black Caps since his Test debut in late 2011 and is now considered one of the best multi-format cricketers in the world. We’re very proud of what he’s achieved.”
Earlier this year, Boult went straight from the IPL into the Test series against England. He played 16 games for Rajasthan Royals, including the final in Ahmedabad on May 29, before playing in the Test match at Lord’s just five days later on June 2 where he bowled nearly 38 overs. However, he has since been rested from New Zealand’s limited-overs tours around Europe but is part of the current squad in West Indies and will complete that series.
Boult has represented New Zealand 215 times across all three formats after debuting against Australia in the famous 2011 Test victory in Hobart. He is one of only four men to have taken 300 Test wickets for New Zealand, having taken 317 scalps at 27.49 with 10 five-wicket hauls and one ten-for. He also has 169 ODI wickets and 62 in T20Is. He is currently the No.1 ranked ODI bowler in the world and is ranked 11th on the Test rankings.
In seven short words, fast bowler Megan Schutt has delivered an insight into the mindset driving Australia towards dizzying new heights.
They go into Saturday’s Commonwealth Games semi-final against New Zealand knowing they are just two wins away from setting a new benchmark for limited-overs success, as they look to add a gold medal to a glut of T20 and ODI World Cup triumphs. This is a team driven to succeed, and happy to embrace all that comes with it.
“We’re coming in as favourites, but we come in expecting to win every single game we play and have been the favorites for a lot of tournaments now, so we’re kind of used to it,” Schutt said. “It’s a tag that we’re humbled by. We are the favorites but we thrive on that.”
They also thrive on avenging missed opportunities. Cricket’s reintroduction to the Games is the 10th major limited-overs tournament for Australia since 2010, and they have won seven of the previous nine, a run that includes five T20 World Cup crowns.
But while the wins are what defines this team as one of the greatest national teams of all time, it is the losses – like the upset against the West Indies in the 2016 T20 World Cup final and the ODI World Cup semi-final loss to India in 2017 – that provide the motivation.
“There are obviously two tournaments in the past that have haunted us, and something that kind of reinvigorated our team is that 2017 loss,” Schutt said. “We do talk about that a lot, that has been a new era for us.
“Losses drive you forward and for us we want to win every single game that we play, we want to win every major championship. It’s about getting better and evolving as a team and each new tournament brings a new challenge.”
On Saturday that challenge is New Zealand, who were well below par in their loss to England in Thursday night’s final pool game.
New Zealand made just 71 off their 20 overs, a target England reeled in within 12 overs, with star duo Suzie Bates and skipper Sophie Devine both failing with the bat.
“That was un-New Zealand like,” Schutt said of the heavy defeat. “They never turn up twice like that in a row and its T20 cricket where any team can win, so we certainly are not taking them lightly.”
Saturday’s semi-final – which will be played on a traditional turf pitch at Edgbaston after hybrid surfaces were used during the preliminary rounds – is due to start at 1800 local time (Sunday 0300 AEST).
Take an inch against Australia and they’ll still win by a mile. That’s the realization other teams have come to in recent years as the depth of talent enjoyed by the reigning ODI and T20I world champions has come to bite them again and again.
In the opening match of the Women’s Ashes in January, England started brightly with an 82-run opening stand to reach 169 for 4 from their 20-over allocation. Then Alyssa Healy fell for just 7 and Australia were 26 for 1, only for Tahlia McGrath to smash an unbeaten 91 in a 144-run stand with Meg Lanning and Australia won by nine wickets. England didn’t win another match in that series, despite challenging in the drawn Test.
Against India in their opening match of the Commonwealth Games, Australia slid to 49 for 5 chasing 155 before Ashleigh Gardner and Grace Harris launched a successful rescue mission with a 51-run partnership for the sixth wicket. And when McGrath and Beth Mooney dug Australia out of trouble at 19 for 2 in their final group match to beat Pakistan by 44 runs, a key to their success was rammed home yet again – if one or two players fail, someone else inevitably steps up .
“We were in a bit of a sticky situation early,” McGrath said after the Pakistan game. “Then Moons and I both probably struggled a bit early and had to work through that. Then that sort of allowed us to have that freedom at the end and get us to what was a really good total.”
McGrath has been a revelation in T20Is, going unbeaten in four of her six innings in the format, although she said her approach wasn’t so much about valuing her wicket.
“In T20 cricket I sort of just go out there with no fear, a bit of freedom,” she said. “I get to play my shots and I know that the batters I’ve got coming in before me are world-class, that allows me to play with that freedom.
“I’ve just been lucky that I’ve had a few not-outs because it doesn’t happen very often in T20. So I’ll just ride it for as long as I can do it.”
Her partnership with Mooney has also been key, in this instance yielding 141 runs for the third wicket.
“We’re both very chill,” McGrath said. “I remember there was a game in the Gold Coast where we got caught in traffic and it was Moons and I in the car and we literally rocked up two minutes before the start of warm-up. The security guard said to us he was glad it was us two because everyone would be freaking out.
“We’ve batted a fair bit together now. I really enjoy with Moons and we both recognize when each other is struggling.”
Mooney agreed: “She’s awesome to work with. I think we’ve got a pretty good understanding of each other and each other’s games. We’re both pretty level-headed people.
“She just comes out and plays to her strengths straight away and takes some pressure off the person at the other end, so she’s a very impressive player and hopefully she can continue that form for a while yet.”
Their union against Pakistan was all the most important after Healy, the hero of Australia’s ODI World Cup triumph in April, fell for four runs, as did Lanning, the captain. In six innings since her knock of 170 in the World Cup final against England, Healy has not passed 23. But Mooney wasn’t concerned.
“She’s looking really good in the nets,” Mooney said of Healy. “Ella She’s just been a little bit unlucky. We also know that when we get into semis and finals, that she steps up and is one of the best players in the world.
“So there’s no doubt in our changeroom that she’s going to show up and do that again for us. We’re really behind her and we know that she’s got the capacity to do some serious damage against the opposition, so I’m sure she ‘ll be fine.”
With Australia having set such a high standard for themselves, Mooney warned against seeing them as “robots” in light of “a couple of low scores”.
With the ball, Australia are also in a good place. McGrath took 3 for 13 against both Pakistan and Barbados, while spinners Alana King and Jess Jonassen have been in fine form.
New Zealand are well aware of the task they face in Saturday’s second semi-final of the Commonwealth Games, scheduled to start at Edgbaston at 6pm local time, which will be 3am on Sunday in Sydney and 5am in Auckland.
Having managed just 71 for 9 in their final group game – a seven-wicket loss to England, who will play India in the other semi-final earlier on Saturday – Sophie Devine, the New Zealand captain, was keen to put their latest result behind them .
“We were well below par and it wasn’t through lack of effort or lack of planning or anything like that, I think you just get days like that,” Devine said. “It’s never nice to be a part of but we’ve got to flush it down the dunny pretty quickly and move on to something that’s actually really exciting for us, playing in a semi-final against Australia at a Commonwealth Games.”
And Devine embraced underdog status against a side New Zealand, like everyone else, knows are capable of great things.
“I think a lot of the pressure is going to be on Australia,” she said. “They’ve certainly come into this competition as favorites and hopeful of taking that gold medal whereas a lot of people didn’t think we’d maybe make the semi-finals.
“We can really take that on board and just play with a bit of freedom and take it to the Aussies. We obviously know them really well, so I think our plans are going to be pretty spot on and likewise they know us really well too It’s always just a great battle against the Australians.”
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo
David Warner is unlikely to play in the UAE’s inaugural International League T20 (ILT20) in January, and looks set to remain in Australia with ongoing negotiations to have him play in the Big Bash League (BBL) for the first time since 2013.
Warner, who is contracted to Cricket Australia but doesn’t hold a BBL deal, is set to be available to play franchise cricket in January 2023 after the three-match ODI series with South Africa was canceled and there was significant interest for him to play in the UAE, particularly given his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals own the Dubai Capitals franchise as well.
But ESPNcricinfo understands that a potential deal to sign Warner to the ILT20 is almost certainly off and Warner’s manager James Erskine confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald that they were in negotiations with CA and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) to have Warner play in the BBL.
CA has found itself in a bind over the prospect of Australian contracted players, who are not contracted in the BBL, potentially being offered $US450,000 to play in the UAE.
The last Test of a three-match series between Australia and South Africa concludes in Sydney on January 8, 2023, with Australia’s next international commitment not until mid-February when they are due to tour India for a four-Test series. This means that Warner, Steven Smith, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, among other Test players, will be available to play franchise cricket in that period. CA had hoped that all would play in the BBL given it runs from December 13 to February 4, while the ILT20 is scheduled to run from January 6 to February 12.
The CA-contracted players are not obliged to play in the BBL under their contracts and Warner and Starc haven’t played since 2013 and 2014 respectively, while Smith, Cummins and Hazlewood also don’t have BBL contracts. Starc has already confirmed he won’t make himself available in order to rest while Warner is the only one publicly linked to the UAE so far, although Cummins and Hazlewood have been sought-after recruits in the IPL in recent years and would attract a lot of interest.
Australia’s high-profile T20 players like Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa, Aaron Finch and Tim David all have BBL deals. The big restriction for the players’ potential earnings in the BBL is the $AUD1.9 million ($US1.32 million approx.) salary cap with top contracts in the BBL for Australian players maxing out at roughly $AUD190,000 ($US132 ,000 approx.). There are significant marketing bonuses available on top of that but the total a player can earn in the BBL is still dwarfed by the top contract in the UAE for a shorter tournament.
There has been disquiet among the players about the BBL’s decision to offer $AUD340,000 ($US236,000 approx.) to top overseas players who have been nominated in the draft. A significant portion of that contract will be topped up by CA outside of the club’s salary cap. There is further disillusionment at the fact that a number of those overseas players are likely to only be available for the December portion of the BBL and will then head to the UAE to play the full ILT20 in January for nearly twice the money.
It is written into CA, Australian domestic and BBL contracts that players need “written approval” in the form of no-objection certificates (NOCs) to play in overseas leagues but it is understood that a restraint of trade argument could be mounted under Australian common law should a player wish to go down that route. That contract clause has warded off players from making any decisive moves to the UAE this year but the ILT20 has given Warner the ability to bargain with CA and command a similar sized and structured BBL contract to what the “platinum” overseas players will get this season .
There has been speculation that Chris Lynn would also require an NOC despite not being contracted to a BBL club due to an ICC player-release regulation stipulating players still need NOCs for two years after holding a contract in Australia. But ESPNcricinfo understands that it would be unenforceable as an unreasonable restraint of trade under Australian law. Shane Watson, the current ACA president, previously played in the Bangladesh Premier League in 2019-20 without an NOC having retired from the BBL earlier in the year. It is unlikely, however, that Lynn could play in both the BBL and the ILT20.
Ricky Ponting and Usman Khawaja forecasted these issues last month highlighting the potential earnings gap between the BBL and the South Africa and UAE T20 leagues for both Australian and overseas players.
All of this is taking place as CA and the ACA prepare to start negotiations in the coming months on a new long-term MoU for the players to come into effect in 2023. One of CA’s major broadcast partners Channel Seven has also filed a Federal Court action against CA to terminate their current deal that expires in 2024 over perceived quality breaches in regards to the BBL specifically.
Glenn Maxwell has revealed he was “shattered” to miss out on selection for Australia’s most recent Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, but it has only reignited his desire to play Test cricket again with a tour of India on the horizon early next year.
Maxwell was close to playing in the first Test in Galle, but Head passed a fitness test and retained his place. He was even closer to playing in the second Test when it was revealed by skipper Pat Cummins that Maxwell was in line to play at No.8 in place of Mitchell Starc if the Galle pitch was going to be a duplicate of the surface used in the firstTest.
But conditions changed significantly with a much more placid batting surface presented, and Maxwell missed out.
“I was shattered when I got told,” Maxwell said about his exclusion from the second Test. “It wasn’t that I thought they made the wrong call, I was just genuinely disappointed.
“I really wanted to play. I loved being a part of it [Test cricket]and I loved the thought of playing again.
“Even not thinking about Test cricket for a couple of years, I felt like I was ready again. I loved working with the coaches and coming up with new tactics to deal with difficult spin bowling and balls exploding.
“I’m glad Heady got through his fitness test because I’d have hated to be in because of an injury to one of your players. Unfortunately, they changed the conditions. If it was the same conditions for both Tests, I probably would have played.But they made a slightly better wicket, and the selectors made the right call.
“I tried not to get too excited or get my hopes up too much because I know, having been in that situation so many times and been on the wrong side of it, the ups and downs of selection and the 50-50 calls … but yeah, I allowed myself to get a little bit too excited.”
Maxwell also revealed that he felt a lot more love and positivity around his possible Test recall than he had done in the past, even if he did regret that his batting style wasn’t more accepted when he was around the Test team between 2014 and 2017 .
“It’s certainly nice to have support, where I feel like I probably didn’t have that in the early days of my Test career,” Maxwell said. “It was probably the other way around, where it was just like, no, you can’t have this guy in the team. So it’s sort of nice to see it change. When I came back into the side in 2017, it felt like there was a real shift of positivity coming my way, which was rare.
“For so long, whenever I played a reverse sweep, it was frowned upon and it’s become a staple of Test cricket wherever you play in the world. Everyone plays it.
“So it’s like, where was this six years ago? It would have been nice when I was playing, if people would have looked at me and gone, oh, visionary [laughs]. uzzie [Usman Khawaja] plays 300 of them, and he’s a superstar, [he] get 150 and like, [we] bow down to him.”
Maxwell is now firmly in line to play in the four-Test tour of India next year, particularly after Head’s lean tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka where his highest score was 26 in five Tests. Head now averages just 21.30 in Asia from seven Tests and has passed 50 only eleven. Maxwell has played all seven of his Tests in Asia and averages just 26.07 there. He has also passed 50 just eleven, but he made a superb century in Ranchi on Australia’s last Test tour of India in 2017.
“Last year I had a preseason at Junction Oval, where we would use the same pitches, maybe four or five net sessions in a row and by the fifth net session they were basically India”
Glenn Maxwell on his preparations for the India tour
The balance of right and left-handers in Australia’s top seven will be important against the left-arm orthodox of Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, and the right-arm offspin of R Ashwin.
Maxwell’s experience facing all three in India, across red and white-ball cricket, will no doubt give him an advantage from a selection standpoint. He revealed the Australia selectors have spoken to him about what specific preparation would be best for him ahead of the India tour and he stressed, as he has previously, that playing Sheffield Shield cricket on Australian pitches will not help.
“They sort of just asked what do you need to get ready and would Shield cricket make a difference? I said no, it won’t,” Maxwell said. “Because the conditions are just so different over there. It’s certainly hard to prepare for spinning tracks in Australia during our first-class games.
“I think we’re able to still get nets up in Melbourne that can spin and do some different things. Last year I had a pre-season at Junction Oval, where we would use the same pitches, maybe four or five net sessions in a row and by the fifth net session they were basically India. And it was awesome. They were the best net sessions I had. Because I was going away, I think at that stage, the next subcontinent tour, it might have been the IPL and it was awesome. It was the perfect prep, and I had no excuses, I suppose, going into the next series.”
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
South Africa batter Mignon du Preez is returning to the WBBL after re-signing with Hobart Hurricanes.
She was the leading run-scorer for Hurricanes last season amassing 414 runs at 31.84, striking at 115 with four half-centuries. She is returning to Hurricanes alongside her close friend and former South Africa team-mate Lizelle Lee who has signed to play in Hobart after withdrawing last season. The pair had previously played together at Melbourne Stars.
Du Preez will also be reunited with Hurricanes’ new captain Elyse Villani, who is also a former Stars team-mate.
“I can’t wait to return to Australia,” du Preez said. “I love the Big Bash. It was a big decision for me to make the move to the Hurricanes last season, but I can honestly say I had such a great time both on and off the field. I got to know a lot of the girls really well, and as we got to know each other better as a team, our cricket really improved too.
“We have a lot of the same team we had last year heading into WBBL 08, plus some pretty great additions too, and knowing first-hand what players of the quality of Junior (Villani) and Lizelle (Lee) can bring to a T20 team, I think that puts us in a pretty good position.”