Birmingham Phoenix have confirmed that India opening batter Shafali Verma has come into the women’s squad for The Hundred to replace New Zealand international Sophie Devine.

Ranked as the number one batter in women’s T20 Internationals (WT20I), Verma (17) has won 22 caps to date, with two half centuries and a top score of 73 versus West Indies in 2019; she also became India’s youngest cricketer to play a WT20I earlier that year.

Australia all-rounder and ICC women’s Cricketer of the Decade Ellyse Perry will take over as skipper of Birmingham Phoenix from Devine, who has withdrawn from the tournament in order to be in the best position to prepare for international cricket, particularly with the ICC Women’s World Cup due to be held in her native New Zealand in February.

Ben Sawyer, women’s team Head Coach for Birmingham Phoenix, said: “Whilst we’re naturally disappointed to lose Sophie, securing the world’s number one WT20I batter, in Shafali, as a replacement is a great boost to the squad as we look ahead to our tournament preparations.

“Shafali may be only 17, but she’s already experienced a huge amount in the game including an ICC T20 World Cup final. With a strike rate of 148.31, she’ll be a fantastic asset at the top of the order as we look to maximise the powerplay.

Ben Sawyer, Birmingham Phoenix Head Coach

“We’re also very lucky to have a vastly experienced captain, in Ellyse, available to lead the team in this inaugural season. She’s very excited by the enhanced role and ready to build on the great work that she has done with Sydney Sixers.”

Birmingham Phoenix start The Hundred at Edgbaston on Friday 23 July versus London Spirit, with the women’s team getting underway at 3pm and the men’s team at 6.30pm.

The entire competition, including all women’s and men’s games will be broadcast live on Sky. The Hundred will also be covered extensively across the BBC, including live television coverage of 10 men’s games and multiple live women’s matches, including the women’s opening game and The Hundred Final.

Tickets for The Hundred are great value for money  at £5 for under 16s, with adult tickets starting at £10, and under-fives going free. Aside from the first two games on July 21 and 22, tickets give you the chance to see a women’s and men’s game. Refund policies will be in place should matches be affected by Covid.