WBBL 2023: Chamari Athapaththu wins Player of the Tournament after being ignored in the draft

Tuesday, 28 November 2023 - 14:33

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu has been named the Player of the Tournament for the ninth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) after she was ignored in the initial player draft.

Chamari Athapaththu was not picked in the player draft of WBBL 09, following which she had expressed her disappointment. Having been ignored in the Women’s Hundred and the inaugural Women’s Premier League as well, Athapaththu made a post on social media after her WBBL snub.

This came right after Sri Lanka Women had beaten England Women in the second T20I of a three-match series in Chelmsford. Athapaththu was named Player of the Match in that game following her 55 (31) and 1-11 off three overs.

As luck would have it though, Athapaththu did eventually get a break in the WBBL when Sydney Thunder brought her on as a replacement overseas player. With Marizanne Kapp unavailable for their first game, Athapaththu got a go and never looked back.

By the end of the league stage, Athapaththu scored 511 runs from 13 innings at an average of 42.58 and a strike rate of almost 130, with as many as five fifty-plus scores. Only Beth Mooney scored more runs than her at that point.

That was not all. Apart from being the second-highest run-scorer, Athapaththu also picked nine wickets at 25.55 apiece, conceding just 6.79 runs per over.

Athapaththu has been in phenomenal form in international cricket in 2023, where she led Sri Lanka Women to their first series victory over New Zealand Women in ODIs and first series victory over England Women in T20Is, Her exclusion from the initial WBBL player draft was baffling.

Now, she has rightly been given her due. The Player of The Tournament award was decided by the standing umpires throughout WBBL 09 and Athapaththu trumped Adelaide Strikers opener Katie Mack by one vote.

Sydney Thunder finished fourth on the points table at the end of the group stage and will be facing Brisbane Heat in the Eliminator at the WACA Ground in Perth today (November 28).

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