WBBL08 Preview: Melbourne Stars to Sydney Thunder
THE EIGHTH Edition of the WBBL starts this week, and to celebrate and count down to the tournament, we will be previewing all the teams in a two part series.
In this second part of the preview series we are going to take a look at the final four teams alphabetically – Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
If you missed part one of our preview you can read it here.
After making the final in season 6, things did not quite go to plan for the Stars in season 7, missing finals all together.
But with a new coach and under new captain Nicole Faltum, the Stars will certainly be looking to return to the heights of season 6 this time around.
However, that challenge is made all the more difficult with arguably their biggest star Meg Lanning missing this season as she continues her break from the game.
Many of the players the Stars have brought in bring in a lot of experience, including at international level, which will be vital for this young side.
However, there is quite a lot of experience that has gone out the door since last season.
Among the departures is Elyse Villani to the Hurricanes, Erin Osborne to retirement and English star Maia Boucher who is not returning to the WBBL.
In saying all that, they do have one spot in their squad left to fill, so time will tell who they sign and what they will bring to the squad.
WBBL08 Squad: Alice Capsey (England), Lucy Cripps, Sophie Day, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Kim Garth, Hasrat Gill, Olivia Henry, Rhys McKenna, Sasha Moloney, Sophie Reid, Jemimah Rodrigues (India), Annabel Sutherland, Lauren Winfield-Hill (England) (1 spot left to fill)
The Scorchers are the team to beat in Season 8, after taking out the title last summer.
And with the changes the team has made over the off season, there is no reason to suggest they cannot go back to back.
They still have coach Shelley Nitschke, but with her recent promotion to head coach of the Australian team, her days at the Scorchers may be numbered.
Their losses have not been too major as well, especially considering who is still in the squad.
The major losses out of the side are Heather Graham who is off to the Hurricanes, and Sri Lankan star Chamari Athapaththu who is not returning to the league this season.
Samantha Betts, Ashley Day and Lisa Griffith have also left the sides.
However, coming into the side is the likes of New Zealand star Maddy Green, and former Renegade Holly Ferling.
Maddy Darke has also come home from the Stars, and fellow West Aussies Charis Bekker and Georgia Wyllie also join the side.
WBBL08 Squad: Sophie Devine (NZ), Maddy Green (NZ), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Alana King, Beth Mooney, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Holly Ferling, Lilly Mills, Chloe Piparo, Taneale Peschel, Amy Edgar, Maddy Darke, Georgia Wyllie, Charis Bekker
Normally one of the teams to beat in the WBBL, season seven was a bit of a disaster for the Sixers, finishing dead last.
But, with the Sixers able to pull off some off the recruits of the off season, a rise up the ladder is certainly on the cards.
Firstly, they have a new coach, with English legend Charlotte Edwards taking the reigns this season.
Edwards is not the only English star heading to the pink half of the Harbour City this season, with spinner Sophie Ecclestone also joining the Sixers.
Ecclestone is not the only big name new face in the Sixers line up this season, with Kiwi star opener Suzie Bates also joining the team.
Angela Genford also comes into the side from the Hurricanes, as does Kate Peterson from the Thunder.
The quartet replace Hayley Silver-Holmes who is off to the Hurricanes, Matilda Lugg and Indian pair Shafali Verma and Radha Yadav.
In saying all that, they do have two spots in their squad left to fill, so time will tell who they sign and what they will bring to the squad.
WBBL08 Squad: Ellyse Perry, Jade Allen, Suzie Bates (NZ), Nicole Bolton, Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Sophie Ecclestone (England), Ash Gardner, Ange Genford, Alyssa Healy, Kate Peterson (2 spots left to fill)
It was not a good season for the Sydney teams last year, with the Thunder doing only one better than their crosstown rivals ladder wise.
However they do have a fairly settled squad, so can build on last season and see if they can return to their title winning form of WBBL06.
Most of their changes from last season are the internationals they have in their team.
They have three completely different internationals coming into the squad this season.
Tammy Beaumont is returning for another stint at the Thunder, and she is bringing English team mate Amy Jones with her.
The third member of the international trio is South African star Chloe Tryon, who after an up and down Commonwealth Games will be keen to have a good season with her new side.
The only non international addition to the team this season is Belinda Vakarewa, with the quick bowler returning to the Thunder after spending time at the Hurricanes.
In: Tammy Beaumont,
Kate Peterson is their only Aussie departure, while their international trio of English star Issy Wong and Indian pair Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma are all not returning this season.
WBBL08 Squad: Rachael Haynes, Samantha Bates, Tammy Beaumont (England), Hannah Darlington, Jess Davidson, Corinne Hall, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Olivia Porter, Lauren Smith, Tahlia Wilson, Chloe Tryon (South Africa), Amy Jones (England), Belinda Vakarewa