Issy Wong turned down to replace Shabnim Ismail at Sydney Thunder while Linsey Smith joins Stars for WBBL

Issy Wong turned down to replace Shabnim Ismail: Wong turned down a vacation to Italy to replace Shabnim Ismail in the Sydney Thunder, while Smith added international experience in an attack by the young Melbourne Stars. Sydney Thunder has signed 19-year-old English Issy Wong, while the Melbourne Stars have signed Linsey Smith, the left-arm orthodox spinner, for the upcoming WBBL.

The 19-year-old, who was part of the English training team, was preparing for her vacation in Italy when she received a call from Thunder coach Trevor Griffin.

“It was a no-brainer,” Wong said. “When you get such an opportunity you can’t say ‘no’ to it.

“This really is a great opportunity for me. I’m still very young, and to have this sort of exposure, and in such a respected league as the WBBL, is super-exciting.

“I’m grateful to Sydney Thunder for putting their faith in me and giving me this opportunity.”

Wong was a very late addition to the Thunder’s roster. After Shabnim Ismail was excluded from the tournament due to a knee injury.

England's Issy Wong joins Sydney Thunder for title defence

Meanwhile, the stars have added veteran Smith to intensify their attack. The 26-year-old Smith has played 9 T20Is for England and won 9 wickets in just 7 matches. In the Women’s Hundred for Northern Superchargers, with an excellent economy rating of 5.54.

Stars coach Jarrad Loughman was delighted to add a senior bowler to his young team.

“Linsey will add another level of versatility to our squad this season with her left-arm spin and batting in the middle order. Her experiences on the international stage will be beneficial to our squad, which is diverse in age and experience,” Loughman said.

“She had a terrific English summer, highlighted by a strong tournament at The Hundred.”

The stars have also signed 20-year-old goalkeeper Maddy Darke. He previously played for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL but had no chance behind Alyssa Healy. Darke toured England with Australia A in 2019. And is currently on the Western Australian WNCL roster after moving from New South Wales in 2021.

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