Melbourne Stars have confirmed a new skipper and three overseas signings for the upcoming Rebel WBBL season, but they’ve bid farewell to a former Australian international who has jumped ship to the Renegades.
Australia leg-spinner Kristen Beams was unveiled as Stars skipper on Monday, replacing Meg Lanning after the Southern Stars captain’s defection to the Perth Scorchers.
Beams captained one match in WBBL|02 when Lanning sat out due to injury, claiming player-of-the-match honours as the Stars defeated the Adelaide Strikers at the MCG.
In further good news for the club, they’re secured the services of South Africa batters Mignon du Preez and Lizelle Lee, alongside England allrounder Georgia Elwiss and former Australia off-spinner Erin Osborne.
Du Preez played for the club in WBBL|01, while the big-hitting Lee – who is set to replace Lanning at the top of the order – and Elwiss will make their Big Bash debuts this summer
Osborne, who last played for Australia last September, will round out the Stars’ allotment of five international players after moving across from Sydney Thunder.
But the club have bid farewell to former Australia batter Jess Duffin (nee Cameron) who was been lured to the Melbourne Renegades.
"I’m very honoured to be named captain of the Melbourne Stars. I can’t wait for the team to come together this summer and to create a culture that we can all be proud of,” Beams, who has signed a three-year deal, said.
"To also sign a three-year deal with the Stars is very exciting as it means that I’m going to be a one-club player. That’s something special to me.
"I played under the captaincy of Georgia at the Loughborough Lightning (in the England Super League). She was a part of England’s World Cup winning squad earlier this year and will bring depth to our bowling and batting line-ups.
"Erin is one of Australia’s best off-spinners. I’m very much looking forward to playing alongside her again."
Stars coach David Hemp said that he was looking forward to the season ahead and that it was good to have a mixture of new and returning faces in the squad.
"We’re really excited to welcome Mignon back to the Club. She was great to have around the team in season one and will slot in nicely in our middle order," Hemp said.
"We saw what Lizelle can do at the top order at this year’s Women’s World Cup. She’s a big hitter and will take the gloves this season."
The Stars also confirmed the re-signing of Katie Mack, Emma Kearney, Gemma Triscari, Alana King, Anna Lanning, Hayleigh Brennan and Makinley Blows, while the allocation of all five international spots means they’ve bid farewell to England star Natalie Sciver and New Zealand’s Morna Nielsen.
Meanwhile, the Renegades have bolstered their batting line-up with the signature of 2013 Australia Women’s Cricketer of the Year Duffin.
Duffin will share her commitments between the Renegades and Collingwood Football Club and is hoping to make a major impact in WBBL|03 after undergoing shoulder surgery during the off-season.
“I’m excited to have signed with the Renegades and looking forward to getting out there and into the action during the WBBL at both Etihad Stadium and Camberwell,” Duffin said.
“I had shoulder surgery earlier this year and the recovery process is going well so far. I’m looking forward to getting back in the nets and working with Tim Coyle and the rest of the Renegades.
“As I’m involved in both footy and cricket, the club has been great so far in being willing to help me contribute to both clubs.”
New Renegades coach Tim Coyle said Duffin would be an important addition to the squad.
“Jess is one of the most experienced players around and a proven performer over an impressive international career. She will bring further batting strength to our line-up which is key in our hunt for the title this season,” Coyle said.
“More than that, I look forward to the leadership Jess brings to our squad and the positive impact she will have on our younger players.”
Melbourne Stars squad: Kristen Beams (c), Makinley Blows, Hayleigh Brennan, Mignon du Preez (SA), Georgia Elwiss (Eng), Nicole Faltum, Emma Kearney, Alana King, Anna Lanning, Lizelle Lee (SA), Katie Mack, Erin Osborne, Gemma Triscari
Ins: Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee, Georgia Elwiss, Erin Osborne, Nicole Faltum
Outs: Meg Lanning, Natalie Sciver, Morna Nielsen
Melbourne Renegades squad: Sophie Molineux, Jess Duffin
Ins: Jess Duffin
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes
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Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
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Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
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