Heather Knight Withdraws from WPL 2024 as RCB Announces Replacement

Heather Knight Withdraws from WPL 2024 as RCB Announces Replacement

Knight is now the second English player to withdraw from the tournament, following Lauren Bell, who opted out of the UP Warriorz. English captain and Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder, Heather Knight, has withdrawn from the upcoming Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 season. The franchise has announced that South African all-rounder, Nadine de Klerk, will be her replacement. Knight is now the second English player to withdraw from the tournament, following Lauren Bell, who opted out of the UP Warriorz to prioritize England’s bilateral series against New Zealand. Unfortunately, the series is expected to overlap with the end of the WPL season. The WPL is scheduled to take place from February 23 to March 17, while the five-match T20I series between England and New Zealand will begin on March 19 in Dunedin. Consequently, players who reach the WPL final would have to miss the first game of the series. According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) presented the players with an ultimatum, forcing them to choose between the WPL and the New Zealand bilaterals. Opting for the WPL would result in non-selection for the New Zealand series. Knight, as the captain, was always expected to prioritize international duty over the T20 tournament. Meanwhile, Bell expressed in an Instagram post that her main focus was on preparing for the series. To replace her, Warriorz brought in Sri Lankan legend Chamari Athapaththu on Friday. In addition to them, Alice Capsey (Delhi Capitals), Issy Wong, Nat Sciver-Brunt (Mumbai Indians), Kate Cross (Royal Challengers Bangalore), and Sophie Ecclestone and Danni Wyatt (UP Warriorz) are also part of the WPL. Nadine de Klerk, a 24-year-old, is one of the most promising talents in international cricket. She was selected for the ICC Women’s ODI team of the year for 2023. As a right-handed pace bowler, she has taken 35 wickets from 46 T20Is at an average of 22.91. Additionally, she is a powerful hitter in the lower order, with 419 runs at a strike rate of 98.35. Despite her experience, Knight struggled with form in the Women’s Big Bash League last year. It seems that de Klerk might just be the next big thing for RCB in the WPL.

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