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The Women's Big Bash has suffered a big blow with New Zealand captain and Adelaide Strikers star Suzie Bates opting out due to travel restrictions.
Bates announced on Thursday morning she would not travel to take place in the tournament, amid fears over how she would be able to return home.
The allrounder is currently in England with the New Zealand team, and the only way she is able to return home is with the national side.
Bates has played in every season of the WBBL, and is at this stage the biggest withdrawal from the competition due to travel restrictions.
In turn, her decision to pull out will bring into question the availability of several other White Ferns, including Perth Scorchers star and reigning two-time player of the tournament Sophie Devine.
"At the time I had to make the decision, I had a spot booked by New Zealand Cricket to get me back into NZ," Bates said.
"If I gave this up to fly straight to Australia there was high chance of being stranded post the Big Bash.
"This was not a risk I was willing to take given what the White Ferns have coming up this summer, including a home World Cup."
Bates' unavailability is a major loss to the Strikers' batting order, after she averaged 21.65 for them in WBBL05 before missing all bar one game last summer with a shoulder injury.