ANESU Mushangwe is set to become the first Zimbabwean cricket player to feature in the Weber Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), after signing a one-year deal with Adelaide Strikers in Australia.
Mushangwe, a leg-spinner and talented batter is one of two additions to the Strikers’ squad announced yesterday, alongside emerging fast bowler Ella Wilson.
The 26-year-old has established herself as a force to be reckoned with playing for Glenelg in South Australian Premier Cricket since she arrived in Australia in 2019 and was named in last season’s premier team of the year.
Mushangwe has also played 21 T20Is for Zimbabwe, taking 33 wickets, and returned to international duties earlier this year after a three-year hiatus, where she was the leading wicket-taker in a tri-series against Namibia and Uganda.
“Anesu is a leg-spinner who is very well-suited to T20 cricket,” Strikers assistant coach Jude Coleman said.
“A different kind of leg-spinner to Amanda-Jade Wellington, I think she will challenge the best batters in the competition.”
The Strikers had already filled their quota of international marquee players for WBBL|08, with three Australia contracted players in Tahlia McGrath, Megan Schutt and Darcie Brown joined by West Indian Deandra Dottin and South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt.
However Mushangwe has been approved to be contracted as a local player given she is now an Australian resident, similar to Melbourne Stars’ Irish allrounder Kim Garth who will also play as a local this season.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity, it is a dream come true to be a part of the squad,” Mushangwe said.
“I am very excited to see how things go this season. I will be playing with and against some of the best players in the world and it will be great to see where I am at with my game.”
Mushangwe has been a force in SACA Premier Cricket since arriving in Australia in 2019.
The 26-year-old was named in the 2021-22 Premier Cricket Women’s Team of the Year after another outstanding season as captain of the Seahorses.
Mushangwe was Glenelg’s leading wicket-taker in both the Women’s First-Grade and T20 competitions, and was also the club’s top T20 run-scorer.
Resuming international duties with Zimbabwe after a three-year hiatus, the right-arm leg-spinner was her country’s top wicket-taker in the Capricorn Women’s Tri-Series in April to lead Zimbabwe to a series victory over Namibia and Uganda.
Mushangwe has 33 wickets at a miserly economy of just 3.1 across her 21 T20I appearances.
Wilson, a candidate for Australia’s Under-19 T20 World Cup squad, is a fiery fast bowler and middle-order batter who was called into the Strikers’ squad early last season as a local replacement player, but has yet to make her WBBL debut.
After captaining South Australia’s U19s at last summer’s national championships, she was rewarded with her first senior state contract.
“We are excited to welcome Ella back for WBBL|08 after she had a taste of the WBBL last year,” Coleman added.
“Ella is an exciting young, talented allrounder who bowls with good pace and swing and can also take the game on with the bat (and) also one of the best fielders I have seen come out of a youth program for many years.”
Adelaide have two places left to confirm on their WBBL|08 roster.
The other new face this season joining Mushangwe and Wilson is West Indies allrounder Dottin, while Sarah Coyte has departed to join Melbourne Renegades.
Star batter Katie Mack and pace bowler Meagan Dixon came off contract at the end of last season and their next moves have yet to be confirmed.
The Strikers, who finished runners-up to Perth Scorchers last season, will begin their Weber WBBL|08 campaign against Sydney Sixers in Mackay on October 15.
Adelaide Strikers WBBL|08 squad so far:
Darcie Brown*, Tahlia McGrath*, Megan Schutt*, Laura Wolvaardt (SA), Deandra Dottin (WI), Jemma Barsby, Anesu Mushangwe, Tegan McPharlin, Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Maddie Penna, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Ella Wilson. — Cricket.com.au