Martin out after joining Stars in Big Bash

Katey Martin
Katey Martin
Otago Sparks captain Katey Martin has joined the Melbourne Stars in the Women's Big Bash and will miss her province's final two twenty20 matches.

Martin could not be reached for comment but Sparks coach Nathan King said the experienced wicketkeeper-batsman would have been torn if the Sparks were still in contention for the January 20 final.

"She is a quality player but she goes with our blessing, particularly given we are out of contention," King said.

"If we were still able to make the final then she would have made it work in terms of playing for us."

Martin will join fellow Otago cricketer Suzie Bates in the league. Bates plays for the Adelaide Strikers and has been in decent form at the top of the order with three half centuries in nine games for the franchise this season.

Martin had a stint with the Stars last year, so she will be familiar with her new team-mates.

Her absence has forced a reshuffle for the match against Central Districts at the University of Otago Oval on Sunday.

Polly Inglis will take the gloves and move up the order to No 3. Inglis has been more consistent with the bat this season, scoring 127 runs at an average of 25.40.

White Ferns spinner Leigh Kasperek will captain the side.

"Leigh had a taste of it last year when Katey and Suzie were both away. She did an awesome job and really enjoyed it, so it will be good to give her another couple of opportunities," King said.

Kate Heffernan rejoins the side after skipping the last match because of other commitments. The tall left-armer is wicket-less in the tournament but has been frugal. Her absence was felt at Molyneux Park on Sunday.

King felt his side bowled poorly in the seven-wicket loss to Northern Districts at the venue.

"We just didn't bowl as well as we have been," King said, adding "it was a really tough wicket to get in on".

His side posted 150 for seven but failed to take advantage of helpful bowling conditions.

"It would have certainly helped having [Kate] there. We had enough runs on the board to win that game.

"But their two best batsmen played quite well. But, I would like to think, had we bowled better we would have had the result."

Georgia Heffernan and Marina Lamplough come into the squad for Martin and Bella James, who is unavailable for the match against Central.

The Women's Super Smash decider is a straight final, not a playoff series involving the top three sides, as previously reported.

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