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Wolvaardt returns to Adelaide Strikers for WBBL

Cover drive aficionados rejoice; Laura Wolvaardt is returning to the Weber WBBL. The 22-year-old South Africa batter, renowned for having one of the most aesthetically pleasing cover drives in the game, has signed a new one-year deal with the Adelaide Strikers.

Her return is a coup for the club after she finished as their leading run scorer in WBBL|06, hitting 347 runs at a strike rate of 105, including a standout 68 from 50 balls against the Melbourne Stars.

The right-hander is currently on tour in the West Indies, where she has been in fine touch, dismissed just twice in five innings.

Those performances include a stunning 33 from just nine deliveries in the second T20I, and an unbeaten 71 in the second one-dayer.

It followed a campaign with the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, where she struck 181 runs including an unbeaten 75.

Wolvaardt is the fifth South African player to be confirmed for WBBL|07, joining Nadine de Klerk and Anneke Bosch (both Heat), Mignon du Preez (Hurricanes) and Marizanne Kapp (Scorchers).

The Proteas’ top players who were involved in The Hundred have been away from home since the start of July, when they had to travel to the United Kingdom via a 10-day stint in Croatia due to the UK’s strict travel restrictions on those coming from South Africa.

Following that tournament, they joined the remainder of their national teammates in Antigua, for the ongoing limited-overs series scheduled to conclude on September 20.

Their arrival date in Australia has yet to be confirmed but it is likely they would travel directly from the Caribbean to begin their fortnight in hotel quarantine.

Despite the long period on the road, Wolvaardt said she was delighted to once again turn out for the Strikers.

“I loved every second of the Big Bash last year,” Wolvaardt said.

“The tournament is fantastic to be a part of and I couldn’t have asked for a better team.

“It’s such a great group of girls and I felt like I learned so much from the coaches last season.

“I can’t wait to start.”

Wolvaardt has been a mainstay of the South Africa XI since making her international debut aged 16 in 2016, playing 93 international matches across the two limited-overs formats, but has continued to take her game to new levels, adding to her T20 power game in recent years.

“We are thrilled that Laura will be back in Adelaide this season, she is someone that adds immeasurable quality to our team both on and off the field,” Strikers General Manager Kate Harkness said.

“Laura is one of the most talented cricketers in the world, and to have so much experience at such a young age is an incredible achievement.”

The Strikers have now locked in six members of their 15-player list for WBBL|07, with Wolvaardt the first overseas signing to be confirmed.

More players are expected to be announced in the coming week as Adelaide lock in their list ahead of the start of the season on October 14.