WBBL: Sophie Ecclestone to make debut with Sydney Sixers during WBBL08

Sophie Ecclestone © Getty Images

Number one ranked T20I bowler Sophie Ecclestone will make her Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) debut with Sydney Sixers after she signed for the eighth edition of the competition on Tuesday (September 13).

The 23-year-old Ecclestone has taken 78 wickets from 59 matches at an average of 16.57 and an economy rate of 6.00. She is currently playing the three-match T20I series against India at home. Although she has played in The Hundred and Women’s T20 Challenge, this will be the first time Ecclestone will feature in the T20 league in Australia.

“They play in my favourite colour – so that’s a great start. Obviously they have great players with the likes of Healy (Alyssa Healy), Perry (Ellyse Perry), and Gardner (Ashleigh Gardner). So I’m really excited about going over and playing with them,” Ecclestone said.

“It’ll be nice not to have to bowl at them… it’s nice they’ll be on my team for once! I’m excited to know them and to start training with them and play in the same team.”

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Charlotte Edwards, newly appointed coach of Sixers for the season, expressed her delight in signing the left-arm spinner and added that her experience of playing in Australia will come in handy during the tournament.

“Sophie is the leading T20 bowler – her record over the past few years speaks for itself – and we’re delighted to have her at the Sixers. In my opinion, we have recruited the best,” Edwards said.

“She can bowl in all phases of the game; she has the ability to take wickets at crucial times, and she can minimise the run scoring at all times. I know the WBBL is a competition Sophie wants to play in, and the fact she’s had lots of experience playing in Australia will hold her in good stead.”

Ecclestone, who made her international debut in 2016, has previously played in Australia as part of the England’s T20 World Cup 2020 side and also the Ashes squad early this year. Ecclestone added that she wanted to feature in the WBBL for a long and she is excited to finally have that opportunity.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said of playing in the WBBL. “I’ve been meaning to go for a few years now. I’m so excited that, this year, it’s worked out well and I can get over there. I’ve seen a lot of it. A few of the England girls have been over in the past and they’ve loved the competition. I’ll hopefully enjoy myself,” Ecclestone added.

“It’s nice [that Edwards] backs my batting as well as my bowling. Hopefully I can contribute as an allrounder.”

Ecclestone is Sixers’ first overseas signing although they have three Australia contracted players in Healy, Perry and Gardner. They will start their WBBL08 campaign with the opening match of the competition against Brisbane Heat.

Sydney Sixers squad so far: Ellyse Perry (c), Jade Allen, Nicole Bolton, Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Sophie Ecclestone, Ashleigh Gardner, Angelina Genford, Alyssa Healy