ELLIE Threlkeld and Paul Shaw, captain and coach of Lancashire Thunder, have hailed the overseas return of star West Indian all-rounder Deandra Dottin on a season-long overseas deal.

Dottin returns to Thunder colours for the second summer running and is in line to play in Saturday’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy opener against South East Stars at Emirates Old Trafford (10.30am).

The big-hitting Bajan played six times in last season’s 50-over competition, scoring 121 runs with a best of 46 and taking six wickets with her seamers, including a best of 3-49. 

Dottin will again combine her regional commitments with Thunder with playing for the Manchester Originals in the Hundred competition through August.

“We’re very happy to have her back - we couldn’t be happier,” said captain Threlkeld. “She’s a three-dimensional cricketer, and she adds a lot off the field as well. She’s played a lot of cricket and is great around the group.”

Dottin, 31, retired from international cricket last August and has played winter T20 cricket at the Big Bash in Australia and at the Fairbreak Global event in Hong Kong.

However, she was a last-minute omission from the WPL in India after the Gujarat Giants cited a medical issue which Dottin herself described as “bewildering”.

Thunder coach Shaw said, with a smile: “Deandra is fit and raring to go.

“Knowing DD as a I do, she’ll be really looking forward to getting into this environment and be keen to perform for Thunder and the Manchester Originals as well.

“A Deandra Dottin with a point to prove is dangerous for opposition teams. Hopefully she will go well.

“In the Hundred last year, she played a couple of really impactful innings at Emirates Old Trafford against Welsh Fire (67 not out) and at Headingley against the Northern Superchargers (68 not out).

“I think she will be happy with the Hundred contributions she made and slightly disappointed with the impact she had at Thunder. She was one of our senior players who did ok, but she has really high standards. I think there’s a little bit more to come from Deandra.”  

Dottin, who posted scores of 7, 8, 69, 42 and 75 for the Barmy Army side at the recent Fairbreak tournament, is one of six signings for Thunder ahead of 2023. 

Naomi Dattani, Fi Morris and Tara Norris have all arrived as full-time contracted players from Sunrisers, Western Storm and Southern Vipers. Steph Butler has signed on from Central Sparks on a pay-as-you-play deal, as has Scotland's Hannah Rainey. 

It means Thunder head into the new summer with high hopes of winning a first regional title after three years of developing a young squad.

When appointed as permanent coach in late 2020, Shaw spoke of a five-year plan to bring success to Emirates Old Trafford. 

“This is a really pivotal year,” he said. “Year three in any programme is what I would call a see-saw year. It’s the one where we have to push that little bit harder to move forward. 

“We’re on course for our five-year plan, and this is a big year. 

“It would be great if we can translate a lot of what we’ve worked on in the winter into performances and a few more wins.

“The last couple of years we’ve spoken a lot about building really strong foundations. But the team is growing a lot, it’s developing, it’s maturing. 

“I’d like the team to really push on over the next couple of years and be more competitive. We’re in the hunt for trophies and to finish as high as we can. We’ll see in the first few weeks, with three fixtures, where we’re at.”

While England star Sophie Ecclestone is due back following rest on May 1, Kate Cross and Emma Lamb are both available to start the summer against the Stars.

England A left-arm spinner Hannah Jones is unavailable as she continues her recovery from recent shoulder surgery.

St Helens-born Threlkeld has echoed Shaw’s comments about targeting success this year.

The wicketkeeper-batter has spoken with significant confidence throughout the winter.

At the start of last month, for example, Threlkeld said: “Something I set out at the beginning of the winter was the need to build more of a winning mentality within this group and belief that we can win games and ultimately trophies. 

“Everything we’ve done since then has built towards it.”

Those comments came before Thunder travelled to Dubai and Mumbai for their pre-season tour, where they won matches and had individual performances of note. Threlkeld scored a century in one match, Cross took a hat-trick in another.

“If anything, I’m more confident now,” said Threlkeld earlier this week.

“There’s a buzz around the group, and the girls have worked hard.

“I said in the dressing room at the end of the tour that results aside, it was the way we went about our cricket. It was everything we spoke about from day one of this journey, and we went out there and did it. Hopefully we can take that into the season.”

The Stars, captained by Bryony Smith, were beaten in the semi-final eliminator of last year’s RHF Trophy.

They have centrally contracted England players Alice Capsey, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley and Tash Farrant on staff.