WBBL 2021: Brisbane Heat rope in leg-spinner Poonam Yadav in eighth Indian signing of tournament

Eight is the most number of players from a foreign country participating in Women's Big Bash League 2021 followed by six players from South Africa

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WBBL 2021: Brisbane Heat rope in leg-spinner Poonam Yadav in eighth Indian signing of tournament
Poonam Yadav became the eighth Indian cricketer for the Women's Big Bash League 2021 | Photo: BCCI

The Brisbane Heat on Friday announced that they have secured the prize signature of leading Indian leg-spinner Poonam Yadav to complete their squad ahead of this month's Women's Big Bash League. The experienced international bowler will link with the Heat at the conclusion of the Australia-India series currently underway, with Yadav in contention to play the remaining T20 Internationals at Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium on Saturday and Sunday night.

Yadav also became the eighth Indian to register for the league this season. She will link with the Heat squad in Hobart early next week, with the Brisbane-based players traveling to Tasmania today to begin their preparations. Yadav is no stranger to Australian audiences, with her three-wicket burst in the opening game of the ICC 2020 T20 World Cup against Australia seeing her finish with 4-19 as India swept to an upset win over the host nation and tournament favorites.

Australia later had its revenge in the final played before a record crowd at the MCG, with Yadav bowling gamely against a rampant Australian batting performance. Yadav, 30, is currently the eighth-ranked bowler in the ICC T20 International rankings and ninth in the ICC ODI bowling rankings. She is closing in on 100 T20 International wickets, sitting on 98 wickets, and if successful in the remaining matches of the series, would become the first Indian woman to take 100 wickets in her T20I career.

She has taken four wickets in an innings on three occasions in T20I and four times in ODI matches and boasts an enviable career economy rate of 5.70. Yadav has played one Test to date, 54 ODIs and 71 T20 Internationals. It will be her first stint in the WBBL, and she becomes the second Indian player to link with the Heat after Smriti Mandhana in 2016.

Yadav will fill the third international spot for the Heat left vacant last month when Amelia Kerr told the club she was unable to take up her WBBL contract as she prioritizes her mental health and well-being.

Heat coach Ashley Noffke said the club was delighted to sign a player of such caliber this close to the start of the series. "It's very exciting to welcome a player of her class and experience into our group. We know there is a lot of upside to Poonam coming on board this summer,'' he said.

"When we lost Amelia Kerr, we were confident we could back our group to give a good account of themselves regardless. But adding Poonam's skill and her competitiveness is a huge result. She is a different type of bowler to Melie, and we are clear on how we can best utilise her talents in our line-up. Jess Jonassen has played against her and as captain, she is very keen to work alongside her now she is with the Heat."

"We think Poonam will also be very good for the younger players in the squad - she has demonstrated her composure on the biggest stage in the world at the MCG and played cricket at a high level in a number of countries," he added.

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