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Harmanpreet Kaur snapped up by Sydney Thunder

The all-rounder becomes the first Indian woman cricketer to be signed by an overseas franchise.

In what can be seen as a major breakthrough for Indian women cricket, Harmanpreet Kaur has become the first cricketer to be signed by an overseas Twenty20 franchise. Kaur has inked a deal with the reigning Women's Big Bash League champions Sydney Thunder. The second edition of the Big Bash League will be played in December-January.

The announcement of the same was made by BCCI president Anurag Thakur today. The move is considered to be very significant as it has become the first official signing after BCCI cleared the players to participate in foreign leagues.

Several other teams were interested in availing the services of Harmanpreet, but Sydney Thunder eventually snapped her up. "I think we saw in the Indian team some very dynamic players, including Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur, I think these two stood out," said Alex Blackwell, the Thunder captain.

Harmanpreet has been a standout performer for India in the shortest format for quite some time now. She scored a 31-ball 46 in a historic chase in the tri-series in Australia earlier this year. This caught the attention of the franchises down under. Kaur was also the bright spark in India's World T20 campaign, where she scored 89 runs and took 7 wickets in 4 matches.

After this initial signings, it is expected that many other players including Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami will be offered contracts by franchises. Both Raj and Goswami had been approached by the Adelaide Strikers for the inaugural edition of the tournament last year, but could not go ahead owing to the restrictions imposed by the BCCI.

Things have changed ever since after the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, as a contract system has been put in place for the team, and 11 women players have been centrally contracted by the BCCI. 

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