Adelaide Strikers have pulled off a major coup, signing former Australia bowler Sarah Coyte for the next two Rebel WBBL seasons.
Coyte played for the Strikers during the first two seasons of the WBBL, before retiring from cricket early last year to focus on her health.
After moving back to her native New South Wales and taking an extended break from cricket, medium-pacer Coyte was coaxed back into action as a replacement player for the Sydney Sixers during the business end of WBBL|03.
Filling in for South Africa star Marizanne Kapp, Coyte made an incredible return to the game, taking 10 wickets in four matches, including a player-of-the-match performance against Perth Scorchers in the final, where she claimed 3-17 in Sydney's triumph.
The Strikers had a first-hand view of Coyte’s stunning comeback – the 27-year-old took 2-14 and 3-18 in two round matches against Adelaide, before claiming 2-32 at Adelaide Oval in the semi-final.
“I’ve been working really hard to find balance in my life over the last year or so and I feel I’m in a great place both physically and mentally,” Coyte, who played four Tests, 30 ODIs and 47 T20Is for Australia, said.
“Now there is no pressure on me for national selection, I’m able to train and play well because I want to, not because I feel I have to.”
Coyte, who turned down a Cricket Australia contract in 2016, has spoken publicly about her battles with anxiety and an eating disorder, documenting her journey on her blog Operation Rebuilding.
Following her match-winning performance to lead the Sixers to back-to-back titles, Coyte told media she was in a good place but would wait for the dust to settle before considering her cricketing future.
"I'm not really sure why I agreed to do it, but it's actually worked out pretty well - I can't complain about it,” she said at the time.
"I think part of me was was just curious to see what I still had left in the tank and if it would rekindle a bit of love for the game."
Coyte said the cohesion in the Strikers playing group – who made finals for the first time in WBBL|03 led by new captain Suzie Bates – was part of the attraction to return to the club.
“I’ll be very pleased to be playing on the same team as Suzie, she seems like she has been such a great addition to the team, on and off the field,” she said.
“I love the environment offered at the Strikers – it’s such a fun and competitive group and I’m really excited to get back out there.
“Everyone enjoys each other’s company and they’re all so easy to be around.”/p>
Coyte joins current Australia-contracted players Megan Schutt and Amanda-Jade Wellington at the Strikers, with the fixture for WBBL|04 expected to be revealed next month.