Photo Credit: Hobart Hurricanes
The Hobart Hurricanes are thrilled to announce that Lizelle Lee will be back in purple for WBBL|09, with the South African power-hitter signing with the Canes’ as their third overseas player.
Lee joins Shabnim Ismail and Bryony Smith as the Hurricanes international recruits for WBBL|09, with both Ismail and Smith’s services being secured with picks 5 and 13 at the weekend’s inaugural WBBL Overseas Player Draft.
All Big Bash clubs have the option to sign international players outside of the Draft, however, no contracts of this nature can be entered into until after the fact, with only non-binding discussions permitted to take place prior to the Draft.
Like several other players vying for a spot on the WBBL roster, Lee elected to directly nominate to take part in WBBL|09 – as opposed to entering the Draft – signing with the Hurricanes on 95% of a silver overseas player retainer to guarantee that she would suit up in purple in WBBL|09.
The 31-year-old ‘keeper-batter made her debut for the Hurricanes in WBBL|08, opening the batting in all 14 of the side’s innings. With a total of 296 runs to her name for the season – at an average strike rate of 117.92 – Lee finished the season as the Hurricanes’ second-highest run-scorer, plus had a total of eight dismissals to her name behind the stumps.
Lee has just finished up a stint with the Trent Rockets in The Hundred, and is currently still in the UK, playing for the Blaze in England’s Heyhoe Flint Trophy. Lee will return to Tasmania at the end of the month in preparation for her 2023-24 Tigers and Hurricanes duties.
Although classified as an overseas signing, Lee and her family relocated to Tasmania at the beginning of the 2022-23 season and is already a well-loved member of the Tasmanian Tigers squad – many of whom are also on the list at the Hurricanes.
“It’s been fantastic to see how Lizzie has been able to develop her game since joining us in a full-time, domestic program,” said Hurricanes and Tigers head coach, Jude Coleman.
“She obviously started in Tassie just before me and it would’ve been a huge adjustment in her life from so many perspectives, but she’s just dug in and got on with it, which has been great to see.
“She was already a very naturally talented player when she came to us, but it’s been fantastic to have watched her continue to work on her craft and go from strength-to-strength across all facets of her game over the past 12 months.
“We’ve obviously got a bit of a strategy in our recruitment process where we see the benefit of having a core of similar players across both our Hurricanes and Tigers programs in terms of the development and support this allows us to give our playing group,” Coleman continued.
“We are grateful to Lizzie that after her first year in purple last season, she knew that this is a team she wanted to play for again, and was prepared to put her trust in us throughout this new period of recruitment for WBBL overseas players.”
Lee reiterated Coleman’s comments, saying she was looking forward to suiting up for the Hurricanes for the second consecutive season.
“Whilst last year obviously wasn’t my first time playing in the WBBL, it was my first time playing with the Hurricanes, which was a very special experience for me.
“On the field, I probably would’ve liked to be a little more consistent across my performances last year, but it was fantastic to be part of a group that got the Hurricanes back into Finals.
“For me personally, it was the first tournament I had played with this group since myself and my family made the permanent move to Tasmania, and it was great how we were all welcomed into the group so quickly – it immediately made us feel at home,” Lee continued.
“As a group, we all know each other a lot better now than we did this time last year, so I’m really excited to get stuck in and see what we can do this season.”
Lee joins Nicola Carey, Maisy Gibson, Heather Graham, Shabnim Ismail, Ruth Johnston, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Amy Smith, Bryony Smith, Molly Strano, Rachel Trenaman, and Elyse Villani as players currently announced as contracted to the Hurricanes for WBBL|09.
The Hurricanes will get their WBBL|09 season underway on Friday 20 October, when they take on the Perth Scorchers at Launceston’s University of Tasmania Stadium.
Hobart Hurricanes memberships and tickets are on sale now! Secure your seat this Hurricane Season and become a part of the Hurricanes family by heading to hobarthurricanes.com.au.