WPL player auction: five potential overseas picks from U19 World Cup

Grace Scrivens was the player of the tournament for her all-round performance

Mrinal Asija
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(L to R) Grace Scivens, Georgia Plimmer, Shorna Akter © ICC/ Getty

The first season of the Women’s Premier League is just over a month away and excitement for the tournament is building up. But before the action begins on the ground, the five franchises will get into a battle in the auction room. The bidding action is likely to happen on February 13.

With every team allowed to pick a maximum of seven overseas players - including one associate player, the established international stars are likely to garner most of the attention. However, the recently concluded U19 T20 World Cup gave the youngsters a good platform to make a case for themselves. The tournament showed the kind of talent that the next generation possesses and franchises might look to lock in some of the future superstars straightaway.

Let’s take a look at five U19 T20 World Cup star performers who could get picked in the Women’s Premier League Auction.

Grace Scrivens (England)

The England captain guided her team to the finals of the U19 T20 World Cup and just fell short of getting her hands on the trophy. But, for her all-round show in the tournament, she was named the Player of the Tournament.

Scrivens finished as the second-highest run scorer in the tournament with 293 runs, only four short of India’s Shweta Sehrawat. She also picked nine wickets from as many games with her off-spin bowling.

Grace Scrivens adjudged player of the tournament ©  ICC/ Getty

She played for the London Spirit in the 2022 edition of The Hundred and had an impressive domestic season with Sunrisers, finishing as the joint-leading wicket-taker in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and being named Sunrisers' Player of the Year, Batter of the Year, and Bowler of the Year.

Scrivens has shown promise to have a long and successful cricket career and the potential to be a leader at the senior level in the future. WPL franchises would like to rope in the young star early in her career and she could become an integral part of their team in the years to come.

Georgia Plimmer (New Zealand)

Georgia Plimmer was one of the prominent players with senior international experience at the U19 T20 World Cup having made her T20I debut during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Plimmer played a crucial role for New Zealand in the middle order and finished as their highest run-scorer with 155 runs.

She averaged 51.66 in the tournament and had an equally impressive strike rate of 143.51. Plimmer’s credible knocks against full-member nations like India, Pakistan and West Indies were a testament of her talent.

Georgia was included in the White Ferns Squad for the 2022 World Cup as an injury replacement for Lauren Down. Since then she has been part of the senior squad.

Plimmer will now represent her country in the ICC T20 World Cup. Her great run in the U19 World Cup and the senior experience could make the 18-year-old a target of the WPL franchises in the auction. 

Shorna Akter (Bangladesh)

Although Bangladesh couldn’t make it to the semifinals of the U19 T20 World Cup, they had a commendable run in the tournament and the star of their campaign was Shorna Akter. The explosive middle order batter amassed 153 runs in five innings at an average of 51 and a highly impressive strike rate of 157.73.

Shorna announced herself with a powerful knock of 78 off 48 against India in a warm-up match and then took Bangladesh over the line to upset Australia in their tournament opener. She followed it up with a quick-fire 50 against Sri Lanka. The fact that Shorna hit six maximums in the tournament is a testament to her power.

Shorna Akter helped Bangladesh to a famous win ©  ICC/ Getty

Her impressive performance was rewarded with a call up to the Bangladesh senior side for the T20 World Cup. Shorna is also a handy leg-break bowler, which could compliment her power-hitting abilities in attracting interest for a WPL spot.

Katherine Fraser (Scotland)

Katherine Fraser might be only 17, but her international debut came back in 2019 and she has already played 31 T20Is. The off-spin allrounder captained Scotland in the U19 T20 World Cup and although her team didn’t have much success, her own performance was quite impressive.

Despite Scotland not advancing beyond the first group stage, Fraser ended up as one of the leading wicket takers of the tournament with nine scalps. She also scored a match-winning half-century against the USA in the fourth place play-off after picking up a three-wicket haul.

As the men’s IPL auctions have shown over the years, allrounders are always in high demand and that could see Fraser get a bid or a few. With five mandatory slot for players from the Associate nations, she could be a front runner to be picked at the auction in the WPL.

Hannah Baker (England)

England’s Hannah Baker finished as the third-highest wicket taker of the U19 T20 World Cup with ten wickets. What made her stand out in the tournament was her tight bowling. She gave runs away only at a miserly economy rate of 3.34.

Baker’s spell of  3 for 10 played a big role for England in defending 99 runs versus Australia in the semifinal and she was fittingly named the Player of the Match. Hannah was also named in the ICC Team of the Tournament along with her skipper Scrivens.

The leg-spinner, who idolises Shane Warne, plays for Welsh Fire in The Hundred and her impressive run in South Africa could find her a place in one of the WPL teams too.