Gujarat Giants on Thursday announced Laura Wolvaardt has been drafted in as a replacement for injured captain Beth Mooney for the remainder of the Women's Premier League (WPL).
Beth had suffered a calf strain while batting in the second innings of the first match of the WPL between the Gujarat Giants and the Mumbai Indians at the DY Patil Stadium on March 4, retiring hurt immediately in a chase of 207.
The franchise added that Beth, picked by the franchise for INR 2 crore in the player auction, did return to training subsequently but it is likely to take 4-6 weeks for the left-handed opener to recover, gain full fitness and complete her rehabilitation.
"I was really looking forward to the maiden WPL season with the Adani Gujarat Giants. But unfortunately, injuries are part and parcel of the sport and I am gutted to be missing the remainder of the season.
I, however, will be keeping a close eye on the team's performance from afar and will be rooting for them every single day." "And though I will be away from the field of play for the rest of the season, I am looking forward to coming back stronger, fitter and I will definitely be hungrier next season.
For now, I wish the Adani Gujarat Giants squad all the very best for the rest of the WPL season," said Beth in a statement by the franchise. Laura, the right-handed batter, was the top scorer for South Africa in their runners-up finish at the Women's T20 World Cup, notching up three half-centuries from six matches.
She was in Pakistan to take part in the Women's League exhibition matches for the Super Women side, where she scored 53 not out in the first game on Wednesday.
But she will now head to Mumbai for the WPL, with her national skipper Sune Luus replacing her for the tournament in Pakistan."I am so excited to be joining the Gujarat Giants.
It is an incredible opportunity and I'm very grateful to be able to play in the WPL. I look forward to meeting up with the team and cannot wait to get going."
With Beth now out of the competition, India's off-spin all-rounder Sneh Rana will be the captain and Australia's Ashleigh Gardner will be the vice-captain for the season.
"Skipper Beth Mooney was definitely one of the most bankable players in the team and she will be sorely missed. We wish her a speedy recovery and I am sure she will make her mark in the upcoming season.
We welcome Laura to the squad and look forward to bringing in some of the best cricketing action in the maiden WPL season," said Rachael Haynes, head coach, Adani Gujarat Giants.
"The Adani Gujarat Giants squad would like to wish captain Beth Mooney a speedy recovery. She is one of the legends of the game and the team will miss her energy in the camp.
But looking ahead, the Adani Gujarat Giants would like to extend a warm welcome to the explosive South African Laura Wolvaardt. We look forward to witnessing many boundaries and sixes from her bat through the rest of the WPL season," said Mithali Raj, Mentor and Advisor, Adani Gujarat Giants.
After getting their first win of the competition with an 11-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, Gujarat Giants will next take on the Delhi Capitals on March 11 at the DY Patil Stadium.
Gujarat Giants squad: Sneh Rana (Captain), Ashleigh Gardner (Vice-Captain), Laura Wolvaardt, Sophia Dunkley, Annabel Sutherland, Harleen Deol, Deandra Dottin, S Meghana, Georgia Wareham, Mansi Joshi, Dayalan Hemalatha, Monica Patel, Tanuja Kanwer, Sushma Verma, Hurley Gala, Ashwani Kumari, Parunika Sisodia, Shabnam Shakil.