All-rounder Deepti Sharma became the fourth Indian cricketer to play Kia Super League (KSL) after Western Storm signed her for the upcoming fourth and final edition of the league. Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur were the first two Indian cricketers who competed in the history of the T20 league hosted in England. While Jemimah Rodrigues earlier in the month signed with Yorkshire Diamonds. Following her signing as the second overseas player in the Western Storm squad, Deepti in a statement said, “I am looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Kia Super League. Every player wants to play alongside and against the best in the world, and this will give me the opportunity to do that.” Also Read - Babar Azam Dethrones Virat Kohli to Become No.1 Ranked Batsman in ICC ODI Rankings
“I have heard good things about Western Storm from Smriti and I can’t wait to contribute to the team’s success on the field,” she added. The 21-year-old Deepti holds the second position in the ICC ODI all-rounder rankings. She has played in 48 ODIs and scalped 56 wickets. She also featured in 30 T20Is and picked up 28 wickets. Western Storm Head Coach Trevor Griffin said, “Deepti is a quality player with a huge amount of experience at the very highest level and she will bring something a little bit different to our squad this year.” Also Read - IPL 2021: Virender Sehwag Questions Batting Approach of Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik After KKR's Loss Against Mumbai Indians
“She’s still only 21 but she will bring a huge amount of experience and knowledge to our dressing room. She is currently rated as the second-best all-rounder in the world in one-day cricket by the ICC, so her quality is there for all to see,” Griffin added. Earlier in the month, Western Storm retained England internationals Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson and Freya Davies. The fourth edition of KSL is scheduled to commence on August 6 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. Also Read - IPL 2021: Rohit Sharma Lauds His Teammates After Mumbai Indians Beat Kolkata Knight Riders in Close Game, Calls It an Excellent Fightback
The top three teams qualify for finals day on September 1, with the second and third-placed sides competing for the chance to face the first-place league winners in the final. Southern Vipers, Western Storm and Surrey Stars have won the tournament once each in 2016, 2017, 2018, respectively.