Harmanpreet Kaur reportedly signed by Lancashire Thunder
A year after Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian to be contracted by a Kia Super League franchise when Surrey Stars signed her, she will now play her first season of the England based T20 league. While the Indian stalwart missed the gig last year due to an injury sustained in the ICC Women's World Cup, the now captain of the Indian cricket team will turn out for Lancashire Thunder.
Although the announcement has not been officially declared as of now, it has been reported so by ESPNcricinfo that she is bound to leave for the UK on July 15 to take part in the league, that alongside the WBBL is taking huge strides to bring women's cricket to the mainstream band of viewer demographic.
She is the second Indian to be drafted this year, the first being stylish opening batsman Smriti Mandhana, who was roped in by the defending champions of the league, West Storm. This will be the second franchise side that Harmanpreet will represent, she has taken the field for the NSW based side Sydney Thunder in the last two editions of the WBBL.
A hard-hitting batsman who can bowl handy off-spin, she recently starred in an otherwise dismal Asia Cup campaign for India as they lost twice to Bangladesh to hand over the trophy for the first time in six editions since the inception of the tournament. Her 156 runs at a healthy average of 52 earned her the Player of the Series award.
The increasing Indian representation in overseas leagues, albeit only women's cricket, for now, is a great sign for the growth of the sport in all the spheres. This might go on to open the doors for the men's cricketers to go play in leagues such as the Big Bash League or the Caribbean Premier League, both the tournaments known for tough, high-quality cricket with a bunch of superstars featuring in it.
Imagine MS Dhoni putting on the teal of Brisbane Heat to put on scintillating performances at the hallowed 'Gabba alongside Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum, all the while preparing for the next ICC World T20 on Australian soil in 2020.