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Aday after Sydney Thunder confirmed the signing of Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma, cross-town rivals Sydney Sixers announced they have secured the services of India stars Shafali Verma and left-arm spinner Radha Yadhav for the 7th season of Women’s Big Bash League, starting October 14.

17-year-old Shafafli Verma, who has risen to the No. 1 spot in ICC T20I rankings, will be making her WBBL debut. The young Indian opener is all set to shake up the opening combination of Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy that has served the Sixers well over the years. Notably, Perry and Healy have been crucial to the Sixers winning two WBBL titles and finishing runners-up in two seasons.

On the other hand, Radha Yadav will add left-arm spin to Sydney Sixers arsenal which already has as many as 4 spinners.

“This is a very good opportunity for me and my goal is to just enjoy myself, to make some new friends and have fun. I want to play WBBL and back myself and just believe in myself,” Shafali, who hit her maiden ODI half-century on Sunday, said, as quoted by cricket.com.au.

Notably, Shafali Verma has thrived under Sydney Sixers coach Ben Sawyer, who also oversaw her at Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Hundred earlier this year.

“Shafali is very impressive. She’s such a talent and she’s fearless. She hits to different areas of the field and plays shots that are different to the other three girls in that top four,” Sawyer said.

There might be a couple more Indian players getting WBBL contracts in the coming days even as India are playing a full-tour in Australia. The visitors ended Australia’s 26-match winning run in ODIs on Sunday but lost the ODI series 2-1.

India and Australia will play a historic pink-ball Test in Gold Coast from Thursday before playing a T20I series.

Sydney Sixers squad for WBBL 2021: Ellyse Perry (captain), Jade Allen, Nicole Bolton, Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner*, Alyssa Healy*, Emma Hughes, Matilda Lugg, Angela Reakes, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav.

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