Tammy Beaumont, Sarah Taylor and Alex Hartley are all on the move for KSL03 this summer.
Beaumont leaves the Surrey Stars for the Southern Vipers; Taylor moves from the Lancashire Thunder to the Stars, whilst Hartley moves the other way, back to her Lancashire roots, having also re-signed for the county team last season.
Additionally, Jenny Gunn moves from the Yorkshire Diamonds to the Loughborough Lightning, with Beth Langston heading in the opposite direction from the Lightning to the Diamonds.
These moves have been very much directed from “On High”, with the ECB keen to ensure that the Kia Super League remains a balanced competition, perhaps in contrast to the WBBL, where the Hobart Hurricanes struggled last season after losing several key stars under the more “free market” system being pursued in Australia.
KSL General Manager Jo Kirk said: “The latest player movements are to ensure the best balance between the six sides and to maintain a fair and competitive competition with the over-arching principle of trying to ensure a best versus best competition.”
Meanwhile Tammy Beaumont told CRICKETher: “It’s not personal choice – the ECB allocate the England players. I’m sad to be leaving the Stars but it is exciting to join a new team. Even though I’m a 27-year-old England player, it is still very nerve-wracking walking in to a new team with a lot of faces I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to it, especially getting to rejoin Suzie Bates who I played with at Adelaide Strikers and Kent.”
At his press conference earlier this week, England Head Coach Mark Robinson spoke of his frustration with the lack of opportunities for up-coming players in KSL, referencing Bryony Smith’s drop down from her preferred opening role at the Stars with the arrival there of Lizelle Lee in KSL02.
Sarah Taylor’s move away from the Thunder solves one such problem for England – creating an opportunity for Academy keeper Ellie Threlkeld to step behind the stumps there full time; but creates exactly the same dilemma at the Stars, where England’s other young prospect, Rhianna Southby, will now be the one warming a bench instead of getting valuable experience out in the middle.