New Delhi, Feb 10: Gujarat Giants (GG) have named tall New Zealand right-arm pacer Lea Tahuhu as a replacement for Australia’s left-arm fast-bowler Lauren Cheatle for the 2024 edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), starting on February 23.
Lea, who has represented New Zealand in 80 T20Is and 93 ODIs and has 78 and 109 wickets to her name in T20Is and ODIs respectively, will join the franchise for INR 30 lakh, said the tournament in a statement. Apart from being consistently regarded as one of the fastest bowlers in women’s cricket, Lea has also been a useful batter at the back end of the innings.
Lea was part of the New Zealand team claiming a bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. In women’s franchise cricket, she turned out for Melbourne Renegades and the Sydney Thunder in Australia’s WBBL, and for the Manchester Originals in The Hundred in England.
Lauren, who made her Australia Test debut against India in Mumbai in December 2023 shortly after being signed by GG at the player auction, had become unavailable for selection after having skin cancer removed from her neck earlier this month. She had previously undergone skin cancer treatment in 2021.
"Really tough, devastating, and the WACA probably would've suited her more than the India Test match, as well. Obviously, our thoughts are with her, she just needs to concentrate on her health and hopefully, she comes back and gets herself right again and gets herself back in contention."
"When she's swinging it and bowling with some pace, she's a threat. There's not too many left-arm pace bowlers in the world like her. She just needs to focus on getting healthy," said Australia women’s chief selector Shawn Flegler to reporters on Saturday, after being asked about Lauren while announcing the squad for a one-off Test against South Africa.
The side had recently signed former Australia cricketer Michael Klinger as their new head coach for 2024 WPL, who replaced Rachael Haynes in the position. Klinger had most recently served as an assistant coach for Sydney Thunder, a team that finished fourth in the recent WBBL season and has also previously worked with Phoebe, the left-handed Australia batter.
Gujarat Giants finished last in the inaugural edition of the WPL in 2023. The side will open their WPL 2024 campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on February 25.
Gujarat Giants’ squad: Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Laura Wolvaardt, Dayalan Hemalatha, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana, Tanuja Kanwer, Shabnam Shakil, Phoebe Litchfield, Priya Mishra, Veda Krishnamurthy, Trisha Poojitha, Kathryn Bryce, Tarannum Pathan, Kashvee Gautam, Lea Tahuhu, Mannat Kashyap and Meghna Singh. (IANS)