WBBL 2023: Melbourne Stars sign star batter Sophia Dunkley for upcoming season

Dunkley is among six cricketers who have chosen to commit to the tournament without participating in the overseas draft.

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Sophia Dunkley
Sophia Dunkley. (Photo Source: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Melbourne Stars have officially announced the signing of England's talented batter, Sophia Dunkley, through the WBBL's unusual direct nomination pathway. Dunkley is among six cricketers who have chosen to commit to the tournament without participating in the overseas draft.

Unlike the men's BBL draft, the WBBL introduced a unique nomination clause for overseas players. This clause allows players to nominate themselves directly to join a WBBL club, bypassing the draft. 

This was primarily made for those players who were uncertain about their draft prospects or where they might end up playing. However, this option came at a price, as these players would only be eligible for 95% of the silver category salary, equivalent to AU$61,750.

Sophia Dunkley, along with Tammy Beaumont, Amy Jones, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee, and Suzie Bates, opted for this pathway. Consequently, the WBBL draft saw a somewhat subdued third round, with seven out of eight clubs choosing not to use their third pick. The exception was the Sydney Thunder, who made the most of the opportunity and drafted three players.

Dunkley, thrilled about her new journey, will join the Melbourne Stars under the guidance of English coach Jonathan Batty. Her presence adds strength to the team, alongside fellow English teammates like Alice Capsey and Maia Bouchier.

While Dunkley's signing has been confirmed, the other five players are yet to be officially announced. Suzie Bates seems poised to return to the Sydney Sixers, while Lizelle Lee is expected to head back to the Hobart Hurricanes. 

Mignon du Preez has been associated with the Brisbane Heat, while Tammy Beaumont and Amy Jones are reportedly in discussions with the Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers, respectively.

The WBBL continues to surprise cricket fans with its innovative approaches, and Sophia Dunkley's direct nomination to Melbourne Stars is yet another exciting development in women's Big Bash cricket. As we all eagerly await the upcoming season, these new signings of big players are sure to bring energy and enthusiasm to the tournament.

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