Heather Knight pulled out of WPL 2024 to prioritise participating in England’s tour of New Zealand, says ECB

England skipper Heather Knight has withdrawn from the 2024 season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) due to her prioritising participating in the side’s white-ball tour of New Zealand.

England skipper Heather Knight has withdrawn from the 2024 season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) due to her prioritising participating in the side’s white-ball tour of New Zealand.

Heather, who was retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is the second England player to pull out of WPL 2024 after fast-bowler Lauren Bell, representing the UP Warriorz, withdrew from the competition happening from February 23 to March 17 in Bengaluru and New Delhi.

The WPL 2024 final will be held at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on March 17 and England’s tour of New Zealand begins from March 19 in Dunedin. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it has led to a schedule clash, leading to the pull-outs of Heather and Lauren.

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“However, when schedules were released, it became clear to be available and prepare optimally for the first game of England’s tour to New Zealand would mean missing the end of the WPL campaign and Knight has decided to prioritise participating in the full international tour whilst allowing the franchise to find a replacement for the whole competition,” said the ECB.

As of now, there is no update on the status of rest of England contingent’s participation in WPL 2024 before going to New Zealand. England women’s head coach Jon Lewis is also the coach of UP Warriorz, which also has Sophie Ecclestone and Danni Wyatt.

Mumbai Indians also has England players in Nat Sciver-Brunt and Issy Wong, while Delhi Capitals have Alice Capsey in their ranks. RCB have roped in South Africa’s fast-bowling all-rounder Nadine de Klerk as a replacement for Heather, while UP Warriorz got in Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu as a replacement for Lauren.

The first 11 matches of WPL 2024 will be held at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, with the remaining nine league matches and the two Playoff matches taking place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, the runners-up of the first season of WPL, will face off in the opening match on February 23. UP Warriorz will begin their WPL 2024 campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on February 24.

(IANS)