The UP Warriorz have signed Sri Lanka allrounder Chamari Athapaththu to replace England quick Lauren Bell, who has withdrawn from the upcoming edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL). Athapaththu was signed for her base price of INR 30 lakh. ESPNcricinfo reports that Bell wanted to focus on preparing for the New Zealand series, which begins just two days after the WPL final in Delhi. It’s unclear if the rest of the Warriorz’s England contingent, including head coach Jon Lewis, Sophie Ecclestone, and Danni Wyatt, will finish their WPL engagements before heading to New Zealand.
Despite her impressive performance in the 20-over format in 2023, Athapaththu surprisingly went unsold in the WPL 2024 auction. She had an outstanding year in T20Is last year, scoring 470 runs at an average of 31.33 and a strike rate of nearly 131, as well as picking up eight wickets.
Athapaththu also had a fantastic time in domestic T20s, especially in the WBBL, where she played for Sydney Thunder and finished as the second-highest run-scorer with 552 runs. She also picked up nine wickets with an economy rate of 6.83.
“I look forward to giving my best to the team and working closely with head coach Jon Lewis and skipper Alyssa Healy and help my team lift the coveted title,” Athapaththu said. “The WPL is a very dynamic tournament, and the UP Warriorz is a strong squad.”
She was also involved in the Women’s Super Smash in New Zealand, scoring 221 runs and picking up nine wickets. Overall, Athapaththu has played 122 T20Is and scored 2651 runs at 22.65 with eight fifties and one century. She has also picked 40 wickets in the format with an economy rate of 6.70.