With the WBBL03 opening weekend fast approaching, the eight Rebel WBBL clubs have begun unveiling their squads for the third edition of the Twenty20 competition.
In addition to a clean slate from which to build their squad, clubs now have more freedom when it comes to list management with the introduction of multi-year contracts.
The Big Bash contracting period commenced on August 4 and all WBBL lists will need to be finalised by Friday November 24, with 15 spots available on each squad including three overseas players.
Each club's playing roster can contain no more than five marquee players, inclusive of the overseas and Australian Women's Cricket Team players.
'Australian Players' are those who have represented the Southern Stars in at least 10 limited-overs matches in the three years prior to Cricket Australia announcing the national contract list on April 24. Scroll down for a full list of relevant players.
The League has this year set the salary cap for each club at $298,890 AUD.
Here's the latest on each club's playing list:
The Strikers have yet to confirm any signings for WBBL|03, but they have a spot open for at least two new international players following the retirements of Sarah Coyte and Charlotte Edwards, while Sarah Elliott has also retired. Former England captain Edwards announced she was walking away from all professional cricket at the end of the England Super League season, while Coyte hung up the boots earlier this year. The Strikers fielded two Australian internationals in WBBL|02 – Megan Schutt and Amanda-Jade Wellington – while England opener Tammy Beaumont and New Zealand allrounder Sophie Devine rounded out their overseas contingent.
Brisbane Heat have secured the services of Australian duo Beth Mooney and Jess Jonassen for the next three WBBL seasons. Mooney was the first confirmed signing from any club for WBBL|03, and the first female player to sign a multi-year Big Bash deal after the longer-term contracts were introduced for the WBBL as part of the new Memorandum of Understanding. Mooney was named WBBL|02 player of the tournament last summer after scoring 482 runs at an average of 43.81, including five half-centuries. The wicketkeeper-batter also snared 12 dismissals behind the stumps including 10 stumpings, before translating that form into a successful run with the bat at the top of the order for Australia.
All quiet from the Hurricanes camp so far, but they’ll have at least one new face this summer following the retirement of former Australia seamer Julie Hunter. Her retirement opens another spot for an international on the Hobart books, and the Hurricanes will be eager to lure some big names down south. Last year, their contingent of marquee players comprised Hunter, England captain Heather Knight, New Zealand allrounder Amy Satterthwaite and rising West Indies star Hayley Matthews.
The Renegades have re-signed one of the most promising young players in the country, with allrounder Sophie Molineux committing to a multi-year deal with the club. The 19-year-old left-arm spinner was named the inaugural winner of the Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year Award at AB Medal night in January, and was last month named in the inaugural Women’s National Performance Squad.
The Stars are hunting for a new captain and star batter for WBBL|03 after Australia skipper Meg Lanning departed the club and signed a three-year deal with the Perth Scorchers. Lanning had already been ruled out for WBBL|03 after undergoing shoulder surgery, but Melbourne will want to recruit a strong replacement given Lanning was the competition’s leading run scorer in both seasons to date.
The Scorchers have pulled off the biggest coup in WBBL history, luring Australia captain Lanning for the next three seasons. Lanning’s deal with the Scorchers will see her in orange until the end of the 2019-20 season, and while the world’s best batter has already been ruled out of WBBL|03 due to the aforementioned shoulder surgery, the multi-year deal means Scorchers fans will have the chance to watch Lanning in action in WBBL|04 and WBBL|05.
The Sydney Sixers landed a major early blow on their local rivals, luring rising fast bowler Lauren Cheatle away from the Thunder. Cheatle has become the first player to sign a multi-year WBBL deal with the Sixers, committing to the reigning champions until the end of WBBL|05. The 18-year-old left-arm quick, who made her Australian debut in January 2016, is on the comeback trail after shoulder surgery ruled her out of the Women’s World Cup. Cheatle is the first official signing from the Sixers ahead of the third season of the WBBL, but talented allrounder Ashleigh Gardner has also confirmed she’ll remain in magenta this summer despite a move to South Australia in the 50-over Women’s National Cricket League.
The Thunder locked in their first signing of the off-season this week with up-and-coming leg-spinner Maisy Gibson back on board for WBBL|03. However, the club will be looking to fill at least four places on their list for the upcoming season after the departure of Cheatle, while former Australia spinner Erin Osborne, Stef Daffara and Claire Koski have not been offered contracts for the upcoming season. But the Thunder are said to be confident of re-signing star internationals Harmanpreet Kaur and Stafanie Taylor, alongside skipper and Australian vice-captain Alex Blackwell.
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The players deemed to be 'Australian Players' under the League's guidelines are as follows: Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Jess Cameron, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.