Poonam Yadav becomes eighth Indian player to secure WBBL deal

Poonam Yadav, an Indian leg spinner, has been signed by the Brisbane Heat for the upcoming Women’s Big Bash League season. Amelia Kerr, the New Zealand all-rounder, has been replaced by the 30-year-old, who had been sidelined for the entire season.

The leg spinner joins Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav (both Sixers), Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma (both Thunder), Richa Ghosh (Hurricanes), Jemimah Rodrigues, and Harmanpreet Kaur (both Renegades) as the eighth Indian player to sign a WBBL deal. Currently, all of these players are in Australia for the multi-format series.

“We were confident we could back our group to give a good account of ourselves regardless when we lost Amelia Kerr,” Heat coach Ashley Noffke said. “But adding Poonam’s skill and competitiveness is a huge result. We know how to best utilise her talents in our line-up because she is a different style of bowler than Melie. Jess Jonassen has faced her before, and as captain, she is eager to work with her now that she has joined the Heat.”

Poonam joins South Africans Anneke Bosch and Nadine de Klerk as Brisbane’s third foreign player. Her signing is the last confirmed foreign place in the franchise-based competition.

Yadav is no stranger to Australian viewers, having bowled three wickets in the opening game of the ICC 2020 T20 World Cup against Australia, finishing with 4-19 as India raced to a shock victory over the tournament favourites and hosts. Yadav, 30, is presently placed eighth in the ICC T20 International and ninth in the ICC One-Day International bowling rankings.

She’s also on her way to take 100 T20 international wickets, with 98 to her credit, and if she succeeds in the remaining matches in the series, she’ll become the first Indian woman to do so. It will be her first time playing in the WBBL, and she will be the Heat’s second Indian player.