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Athapaththu brushes off draft snub, wins player of WBBL|09

28 November 2023 10:58 am - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Australia, Nov 28 (cricket.com.au) - 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."


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  Comments - 8

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  • N V Jen Tuesday, 28 November 2023 12:33 PM

    Dasun and Kusal and the rest of the men's team, note her confident words. She loves the skipper's responsibilities and upholds the entire batting line up. You guys are chicken hearted and incapable of shouldering any team responsibility, leave aside the captaincy. Well done, Chamari. Keep going.

    Junaideen AZOOR Tuesday, 28 November 2023 01:49 PM

    Well done Chamari you made the country proud

    Nahghghghg Tuesday, 28 November 2023 02:10 PM

    Well done Chamari Nangi, keep your shoulders as high above your head, your decision making has a world class picture. Dasun, kusal, dananjaya, and pathum Nissan, learn from her, take responsibility

    Devindra Weerasooriya Tuesday, 28 November 2023 02:23 PM

    Fantastic Batting Chamari. If there was a possibility you should playing in the Men’s-team.

    Ram Tuesday, 28 November 2023 02:29 PM

    Chamari has been the player of the match at least in 5 matches out of the 14 she played. This can be checked from Cricinfo website. She has shown her usefulness to the Aussies

    Fred Tuesday, 28 November 2023 04:18 PM

    Congratulations Chamari and thanks Australia for giving her that much needed boost to her confidence because the talent was always there. As for her performances on the field the facts speak for themselves

    Navi Tuesday, 28 November 2023 09:44 PM

    Congratulations Chamari !!! The Chambay Queen. There MAY be a congratulatory note from a fake Sports minister called Harin. He is still consulting his father.

    Shehan Wednesday, 29 November 2023 03:46 PM

    Congratulations chamari proud of you.. well done…


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