South West [England], Jun 11 (ANI): England captain Heather Knight and pacer Anya Shrubsole have returned to Western Storm for the 2019 season of the Kia Super League (KSL).
Their national teammates Fran Wilson and Freya Davies have also re-joined the team. All four players have played a major role in the success of Storm since the inception of the tournament in 2016. Head coach Trevor Griffin expressed his happiness over the returning of the players for this year's campaign.
"I couldn't be happier. Continuity of squad has been a massive thing for us over the last few years and that has played a big role in what we've achieved. The England players have all been in great form and that can only be a good thing for us," Griffin said in a statement.
"They are world class players and World Cup winners. To have Freya now in the international picture as well is great for us because it'll certainly help her to develop as a player," the head coach added.
Following the announcement, Knight said she is delighted to be representing the team again. She also acknowledged that Western Storm has developed an "outstanding team spirit" over the last few years.
"I'm really pleased to be representing Western Storm again in 2019. Over the last few years, we've developed an outstanding team spirit and that has shown out on the field. To have qualified for Finals Day in the three previous seasons is something that we are all really proud of, and we're determined to do that again this year," Knight said.
"Playing for Western Storm is something that is very special to me because I have links to the South West. To see so many supporters at our home games is something that makes me very proud to be involved with this squad. Hopefully, we can give those supporters something to cheer again this year," she added.
Shrubsole, who guided England to take unassailable lead 2-0 against West Indies in the ongoing ICC Women's Championship, said she cannot wait to sport the green kit again.
"Everyone knows about my links to the West Country, so I'm delighted to be representing Western Storm again this year. Over the last three years, we've created something pretty special and I can't wait to put that green shirt on again in 2019," she said.
"The support we've received since the KSL was introduced has been outstanding, and we'll all be doing our very best to reward those supporters by lifting that trophy again this year. It's been great to see Western Storm and the KSL grow in stature year on year and I can't wait to get started," Shrubsole added.
Just like Knight, Wilson too praised the team spirit, saying the team members work really hard. She also highlighted that the team has got great players.
"It's amazing and I'm really pleased to be back. We've got a great group and I love working with the Storm coaches. It's clear what our identity is, and we work really well together. That's the foundation of any winning team," she said.
"I started my cricket in the South West and it's always great to go back. I was adamant that this is where I wanted to play my cricket and Trevor and his team were very much along those lines too, so I'm really grateful that things have worked out again," Wilson added.
Davies said that Western Storm has helped her in her international cricket. She also noted that playing and training alongside Knight, Shrubsole, and Wilson has developed her game.
"Western Storm has played a big part in helping me to make the step up to International cricket, so I'm thrilled to be coming back again this year. To be able to play and train alongside the likes of Heather, Anya and Fran on a daily basis has definitely helped my game to develop," she said.
"And hopefully I can improve again this year. It's been an incredible 18 months for me and the icing on the cake would be lifting the KSL trophy at Hove at the end of August," Davies added.
This year's KSL edition will start on August 6 and will see six teams - Lancashire Thunder, Loughborough Lightning, Western Storm, Surrey Stars, Yorkshire Diamonds, Southern Vipers - playing each other twice in a league format.
The top three teams qualify for finals day on September 1, with the second and third-placed sides competing for the chance to face the first-placed league winners in the final. Southern Vipers, Western Storm and Surrey Stars have won the tournament once each in 2016, 2017, 2018, respectively. (ANI)