INDIAN star Smriti Mandhana will be returning to Western Storm for the 2019 Kia Super League.

Mandhana was superb for the Storm last year and finished as the competition's leading run scorer with 421 at an average of 60.14 and a strike rate of 175.

That included a century against Lancashire Lightning at Old Trafford and a 19-ball unbeaten 52 against the same opposition in Taunton.

Mandhana was not available for last season's finals day, which saw the Storm lose their semi-final against Surrey Stars by nine runs.

On her decision to return, Mandhana said: "I enjoyed my time with Western Storm last year and I’m looking forward to coming back in 2019.

"We played some outstanding cricket last year and hopefully we can go a little further this season and lift the trophy.

“Everyone involved with Western Storm made me feel so welcome and, if given the opportunity, I was always going to come back.

"The culture around the team, from top to bottom, was very good and I know that everyone will be looking for success once again.

“The squad has a good mix of experienced players plus young players who have a point to prove.

"I hope that I can score the runs that will help to contribute to a successful year for Western Storm.”

Storm head coach Trevor Griffin said: “Everyone knows what Smriti is capable of and she was absolutely sensational for us last year."

"Her performances on the field were superb and really set the tone for what we were trying to achieve in each match.

“It wasn’t just the volume of her runs that was impressive, it was the manner in which they were scored that really caught the eye.

“She was exceptional off the field as well. Her team ethic and the way in which she goes about her training will no doubt inspire some of our younger players, who will certainly learn from someone like her.”

Western Storm begin their Kia Super League campaign at Loughborough Lightning on August 6 and play three games in Taunton - against Lancashire (August 10, double header with Somerset v Kent), Surrey Stars (August 21) and Yorkshire Diamonds (August 28).