Melbourne Stars sign England batter Sophia Dunkley for WBBL

Melbourne Stars have confirmed the signing of England batter Sophia Dunkley via the WBBL’s unusual direct nomination pathway with Dunkley one of six players to commit to playing in the tournament without entering the overseas draft.

Dunkley was not in the WBBL draft last Sunday where seven of the eight WBBL clubs only chose two overseas players, with each club allowed to take three, and six of them committing to signing the six players who had decided to bypass the draft.

The inaugural WBBL overseas draft included a bespoke nomination clause that did not feature in the men’s BBL draft. Players unsure about entering the draft due to the uncertainty of where they might play or being overlooked entirely were given the option of directly nominating to play for a WBBL club without being part of the draft. The option came at a cost with the players only eligible to be paid 95% of the silver category salary – which equates to AU$61,750.

Dunkley, Tammy Beaumont, Amy Jones, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee and Suzie Bates all took that option. It meant that the WBBL draft did fall a little flat after the first two rounds with seven of the eight clubs passing on their third pick. Sydney Thunder were the only team to draft three players on the day.

The other five signings are expected to be confirmed in the coming week. Bates looks set to return to Sydney Sixers and Lee is likely to head back to Hobart Hurricanes. Du Preez has been linked to Brisbane Heat. Beaumont and Jones have been linked with Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers respectively.

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