INDIA’S star batsman Smriti Mandhana will make her Western Storm debut in Tuesday night’s testimonial game for Marcus Trescothick at South Devon CC.
Trescothick, the Somerset and former England batsman is taking a Somerset to Marsh Road for a unique battle-of-the-sexes fixture thought to be the first of its kind in the UK between two such high-profile sides.
Mandhana is due to fly into the UK on Monday and will be heading straight down to Newton Abbot to meet her new Western Storm team-mates and get in some match practice.
Mandhana is the first Indian cricketer contracted to play in the Kia Super League. Her impressive stats include three tons and 11 50s in one-day internationals, five T20 half-centuries at international level and a 30-ball 50 against Australia earlier this year.
Western Storm are just a few days away from beginning their defence of the Kia Women’s Super League title they won last year. Game one is against Yorkshire Knights at Taunton this Sunday (July 22).
Trevor Griffin, the Western Storm coach, said: “We are looking forward to the challenge of facing the men and doing our bit to support Marcus’ testimonial.
“From a spectators point of view what a fantastic evening it should be to see the Somerset 1st XI and ourselves in action.”
Storm have further strengthened by re-engaging rising domestic stars Sophie Luff and Freya Davies.
A regular wicket taker for Storm in each of the previous two campaigns, fast bowler Davies is out to impress the selectors after being handed a rookie contract by England earlier this year.
Davies is also a definite to play against Trescothick’s team
Griffin added: "Freya is one of the most exciting prospects in the game right now and her recognition by England is richly deserved. She is an outstanding professional both on and off the field and I'm sure she will play a big part for us again in 2018."
A regular contributor of middle order runs last summer, the 24-year-old will be looking to press her England claims and propel Storm to another title success. “It's only a matter of time before she receives international recognition,” said Griffin.
“The supporters in the West Country love her and are looking forward to her making a major contribution again this year.
"For someone so young (24), Sophie already has a wealth of experience and I'm sure her middle order runs will again prove crucial to us."
England commitments preclude Fran Wilson, Anya Shrubsole and captain Heather Knight from playing. Wilson and Shrubsole will be at the pre-match lunch and are staying on to mingle with spectators.
Trescothick’s squad of players includes the Overton twins, James Hildreth, Roelof van der Merwe, Max Waller, Tom Abell, Steve Davies, Johann Myburgh, Lewis Gregory and Josh Davey.
Not all the players in the squad will play, although Trescothick and Craig Overton are definitely on the team sheet.
The match starts at 5.30pm.