Saturday, April 20, 2024

Hobart Hurricanes: Graham commits to Hurricanes ’til at least 2026

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Photo Credit: Hobart Hurricanes

The ninth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) season may still be four months away, but the future of the Hobart Hurricanes’ WBBL team is already looking bright, with the news that Heather Graham has signed a contract extension that will see her remain in purple until at least 2026.

Graham was one of the Hurricanes’ most prized off-season recruits in 2022 after signing an initial two-year deal, and has since signed a further two-year extension.

After being appointed as vice captain, Graham more than lived up to her reputation in her first season in purple.  Currently billed as one of Australia’s most dangerous allrounders, Graham pulled her weight with both the bat and ball in WBBL|08, finishing the season as the Hurricanes third-highest run-scorer (258 runs at a strike rate of 122.27) and fourth-highest wicket-taker (10 at an average of 28.80), and was a key part of the Hurricanes reaching their first WBBL finals campaign in six seasons.

Since November 2022, Graham’s T20 game has only continued to escalate.  After making her T20 International debut for Australia in India, in just her third international game in the format she took a hat trick in Mumbai, becoming just the second Australian woman to achieve this feat.  This earned her a call up to Australia’s T20 World Cup squad – that went on to win their sixth ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in January – before being recruited by the Mumbai Indians for the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League – a tournament her team also went on to win.

Graham is now plying her trade in the UK, with Australian commitments throughout the Australian/Australia A Ashes Tour, followed by another stint at the Northern Superchargers as a part of the third edition of The Hundred, meaning she will not be back in Tasmania until September.

The announcement of Graham’s ongoing commitment to the Hurricanes comes on the same day as the League’s announcement of the dates for the upcoming women’s and men’s Big Bash seasons, but also that nominations for the Overseas Player Draft will open next week (Monday 19 June).

It will be the first time a draft function has been introduced in the WBBL, and as a player with experience in overseas drafts, Graham said it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the other side of the ledger.

“It will be really interesting to see how the Draft goes for the overseas players coming into the WBBL this year,” Graham said.  “From my experience being in drafts, it’s always a little bit nerve-wracking not knowing where you’ll end up, or even if you’ll get a spot anywhere, but it certainly sets up the tournament on a pretty even playing field which makes things pretty exciting.”

Of her contract extension with the Hurricanes, Graham said it was a decision that just made sense for her personally.

“I’ve been really fortunate to be in a position where I’ve been travelling a lot for cricket since the end of the last WBBL season, and whilst those opportunities are really exciting and what every player works for, it’s also really nice to have some certainty of where I will be based when it comes time to play at home.”

Looking back to her first season in purple, Graham continued; “Whilst at the time we were really disappointed to exit the tournament in the way we did last year, overall, we can look back and say we are building something really special on our Hurricanes side of the program down here.”

“We had quite a few new faces in purple last year, plus Dan [Marsh], who came in a took the reins as head coach in an interim capacity, and it was a really big achievement for the club last year to be back playing finals.

“This year we will still have a lot of familiar faces around, plus a new coach in Jude [Coleman] who has obviously had a lot of success in this format in her time at the Strikers, so I think it’s going to be another really exciting season for us.”

Graham joins Ruth Johnston, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Molly Strano and Elyse Villani as players currently announced as contracted to the Hurricanes for WBBL|09.
 

Big Bash League Season dates:

WBBL|09 – Thursday 19 October to Saturday 2 December (The Final)
BBL|13 – Thursday 7 December to Wednesday 24 January (The Final)

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