Chamari Athapaththu signs with Northern Brave for Super Smash 2023-24

Chamari Athapaththu, who has been in the middle of a sensational run of form, has been signed up by Northern Brave for the 2023-24 women’s Super Smash competition, with the team calling it “a huge coup”.

Sri Lanka stalwart Athapaththu is playing in the WBBL for Sydney Thunder, and is currently the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament across teams with a tally of 451 runs from 12 innings at an average of 45.10 and strike rate of 134.62, behind only Perth Scorchers’ Beth Mooney, who has 535 runs from 12 innings.

In a statement released by Northern Districts, she said she was “super excited” at the opportunity. Athapaththu will join the Northern Brave camp in late December.

“We’re excited to get Chamari around the group,” Eimear Richardson, the Ireland international who is also captain of Northern Brave, said in the statement. “She’s been in great form the last few months and is showing her class in the WBBL currently, so we’re excited to add her firepower to our lineup.

“Chamari’s all-round abilities will be a great addition to the Super Smash and is sure to excite the crowds with both bat and ball in hand. It will be great to have a player of her abilities on the park with us.”

Athapaththu, the ninth-highest run-getter in women’s T20Is with 2651 runs from 120 innings, has had a sensational 2023. In ODIs, there were the two centuries – 108 not out and 140 not out – against New Zealand at home in Galle in June, which gave Sri Lanka a famous 2-1 series win, while she has hit three half-centuries in 16 T20I innings this year too. Overall, she has 3255 ODI runs at an average of 34.26 with eight centuries, and 2651 T20I runs at a strike rate of 106.20 with one century.

A more than handy offspinner, Athapaththu also has 68 wickets in international cricket.

“There’s no doubt that her exciting skill set, and destructive x-factor will be a huge addition to our team but just as importantly, to the competition as a whole”

Ian Sandbrook, Northern Districts’ general manager of performance and talent

Easily the most popular Sri Lankan woman cricketer, Athapaththu has played in the Women’s CPL, for Guyana Amazon Warriors, as well as in the FairBreak Invitational T20 tournament and in the Women’s T20 Challenge At the WBBL, Thunder is her third team, after she turned out for Melbourne Renegades and Scorchers in previous seasons.

“We cannot wait to have a world-class player in Chamari join the Northern Brave for this season’s Super Smash competition,” Ian Sandbrook, general manager of performance and talent at Northern Districts, said. “There’s no doubt that her exciting skill set, and destructive x-factor will be a huge addition to our team but just as importantly, to the competition as a whole.

“We also know that Chamari will be a great role model and leader within our environment, and imparting these behaviours on our talented young squad is another important step in making the Northern Brave the best performance environment in the country.”

Northern Brave’s Super Smash campaign kicks off on December 22 as part of a double-header with the men’s Brave team, who will take on Central Districts’ Hinds (women) and Stags (men) at Seddon Park. Athapaththu is expected to be available for selection for the game against Wellington Blaze on January 2.

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