South African batter Laura Wolvaardt has been signed by the Women’s Premier League (WPL) franchise Gujarat Giants as a replacement for an injured Beth Mooney, the skipper of franchise, for the remainder of the tournament.
Laura had gone unsold in the WPL Auction held on February 13 and was in Pakistan to partake in exhibition matches of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB’s) Women’s League. She has been released by her team, the Super Women, and her compatriot Sune Luus has replaced her in the side. Mooney had suffered a knee injury in the tournament opener against Mumbai Indians on March 4. She injured her knee while taking a quick run during a chase of 208 runs against MI and did not feature in the match.
This was a huge psychological blow for Gujarat Giants, who were skittled out for just 64 in the mammoth run chase. Mooney has not featured in WPL since then, though she has been spotted with her teammates during the later matches. Sneh Rana, the vice-captain of the side, has been leading Gujarat Giants in her absence. Mooney was picked up by GG at the WPL auction for Rs 2 crore. Gujarat Giants features many Australian players, like Ashleigh Gardner, Georgia Wareham and Annabel Sutherland.
Wolvaardt is expected to fill up the batting frontperson role that Mooney was supposed to occupy. In the Women’s League, Wolvaardy was in fine form in her only appearance, scoring a match-winning 53* off 36 balls. “I want to thank the PCB for this opportunity to play in the Women’s League exhibition matches. It has been an incredibly short journey, but I have loved the experience. The team has been amazing, and I have felt so welcomed,” Wolvaardt said in a statement released by the PCB on Wednesday, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo. “I wish both sides the best of luck with the rest of the series.” I am sure both sides will strive hard, do well, and learn a lot from the experience they will get from the matches. I cannot wait to return to Pakistan in September with South Africa’s national women’s team and learning more about this amazing country,” concluded the statement.
Luus had led South Africa to the final of the recently-concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023, after the regular skipper Dane van Niekerk was left out of the squad after failing a fitness test.