After Lauren Bell, England’s Heather Knight has also pulled out of the 2nd edition of the Women’s Premier League citing to keep her fresh for the eight-match New Zealand tour following the WPL. Earlier, Bell also withdrew from the WPL to prepare for the New Zealand tour.
Heather Knight was a key player for RCB in the WPL. Nadine de Klerk has been roped in by RCB as Knight’s replacement for the 2nd season. The South African all-rounder, who delivers medium-fast bowling and bats with a right-handed stance, has participated in 30 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 46 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) for her national team.
Heather Knight took to X, formerly Twitter, to break the news of her non-availability for RCB. In her tweet, she wrote, “Sad to announce I'm withdrawing from the @wplt20 this year, but it's the right thing for me to be available for the whole England tour of NZ. All the best @RCBTweets and @mandhana_smriti for the coming season." Knight participated in eight matches for RCB during the inaugural season of the WPL in 2023, achieving a score of 135 runs and securing four wickets.
Chamari Athapaththu replaces Lauren Bell for UP
Under the guidance of England head coach Jon Lewis, UP Warriorz has chosen not to go for a direct replacement. Instead, they have acquired Chamari Athapaththu, who is currently one of the in-form players globally. Despite being one of the leading players in all formats across formats worldwide, Athapaththu was surprisingly not picked in the initial auctions but has eventually been called up as Bell's replacement.
She is excited and motivated to prove her mettle at this stage. Speaking on her upcoming WPL stint she said, "I look forward to giving my best to the team and working closely with head coach Jon Lewis and skipper Alyssa Healy and help my team lift the coveted title," said Athapaththu. "The WPL is a very dynamic tournament, and the UP Warriorz is a strong squad." WPL is set to commence on 23rd February in Bengaluru.