The auction of the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League, held at Jio World Convention Center on Sunday (14th February) grabbed the headlines with hefty buys and surprise omissions. A total of 87 players were picked up including 30 overseas.
Smriti Mandhana emerges as the costliest buy
The bid for the Indian batter, Smriti Mandhana got the event off to a dramatic beginning as the swashbuckling batter was acquired for the highest bid (3.4 crores) by Royal Challengers Bangalore. Her counterpart, the Indian team skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur (1.4 crores) was purchased by Mumbai Indians in the same marque set.
All-rounder Deepti Sharma became the second most expensive Indian buy (2.6 crores) as she was bought by UP Warriors, a franchise based in her home state. Delhi Capitals broke the bank for Jemimah Rodrigues (2.2 crores), who had recently played a match-winning knock against Pakistan in the ongoing T20 World Cup. They also purchased the India U19 World Cup-winning captain Shafali Verma (2 crores).
While, the other young star from India’s historic U19 campaign, Richa Ghosh (1.9 crores) was bought by Bangalore. Indians bought her counterpart Yastika Bhatia (1.5 crores) and the all-rounder Pooja Vastraker (1.9 crores).
Ashleigh Gardner, Natalie Sciver-Brunt: top overseas buys
Amongst the overseas stars, Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner and England’s Natalie Sciver-Brunt took the spotlight. The two all-rounders were purchased for a whopping 3.2 crores respectively by Gujarat Giants and Mumbai Indians, making them the joint second-highest buys in the auction.
The Giants also lashed money on Australia's leading T20I run-getter in 2022, Beth Mooney (2.0 crores). Meanwhile, UP Warriorz purchased the top-ranked T20I bowler, Sophie Ecclestone (1.8 crores). Bangalore cashed on the duo of Ellyse Perry (1.7 crores) and Sophie Devine (1.7 crores), setting up a star-studded squad.
UP Warriors spent big on Australia’s prolific all-rounder, Tahlia McGrath (1.4 crores). However, they bought her companion, wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Heally (70 lakhs) at a bargain apparently. Meanwhile, the Capitals got Australia’s T20I and ODI World Cup Winning captain Meg Lanning (1.1 crores). They continued their overseas spending to buy Marizanne Kapp (1.5 crores) who got the highest bid amongst international all-rounders.
Many overseas stars including West Indies batter Hayley Mathews, and Australian bowlers Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen went unsold in the initial marquee set but were purchased in the accelerated phase of the auction. Matthews (40 lakhs) was purchased by Indians, Jonassen by Capitals (50 lakhs), and Schutt (40 lakhs) ultimately by Bangalore.
Tara Norris, the lone buy from the associates
Out of the 19 players associate players selected for the auction day, Tara Norris (10 lakhs) of the USA was the only one to be sold in the inaugural WPL auction. The 24-year-old seamer from Philadelphia was snapped by the Capitals at her base price.
19-year-old Mahika Gaur from UAE attracted interest from the Giants, however, the franchise has already exhausted its overseas slots.
Apart from the many associate talents, those who could not find bidders included New Zealand opener Suzie Bates, Sri Lankan captain Chamari Athapaththu and South African batter Laura Wolvaardt.
Bids for U19 World Cup stars
Having bought the core group of players, franchises focused on plugging the gaps with young and domestic talent. These included the Bengal's Titas Sadhu bought by Capitals. Delhi’s Shweta Sehrawat and UP’s Parshavi Chopra were purchased by Warriorz. UP's Sonam Yadav was acquired by the Indians. The two seaming all-rounders, Andhra's Shabnam MD and Mumbai's Hurley Gala were bought by the Giants.
All set for the tournament to begin
The inaugural season of the WPL will take place from 4th March to 22nd March. The venues for the 22 matches include the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai and the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
List of final squads:
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, Erin Burns, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Shreyanka Patil, Kanika Ahuja, Asha Shobana, Heather Knight, Dane van Niekerk, Preeti Bose, Poonam Khemnar, Komal Zanzad, Megan Schutt, Sahana Pawar
Mumbai Indians: Harmanpreet Kaur, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Amelia Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, Yastika Bhatia, Heather Graham, Issy Wong, Amanjot Kaur, Dhara Gujjar, Shaika Ishaque, Hayley Matthews, Chloe Tryon, Humaira Kazi, Priyanka Bala, Sonam Yadav, Jintimani Kalita, Neelam Bisht
Gujarat Giants: Ashleigh Gardner, Beth Mooney, Sophia Dunkley, Annabel Sutherland, Harleen Deol, Deandra Dottin, Sneh Rana, S Meghana, Georgia Wareham, Mansi Joshi, D Hemalatha, Tanuja Kanwar, Monica Patel, Sushma Verma, Hurley Gala, Ashwani Kumari, Parunika Sisodia, Shabnam MD
UP Warriorz: Sophie Ecclestone, Deepti Sharma, Tahlia McGrath, Shabnim Ismail, Alyssa Healy, Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Parshavi Chopra, Shweta Sehrawat, S Yashasri, Kiran Navgire, Grace Harris, Devika Vaidya, Lauren Bell, Laxmi Yadav, Simran Shaikh
Delhi Capitals: Jemimah Rodrigues, Meg Lanning, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Marizanne Kapp, Titas Sadhu, Alice Capsey, Tara Norris, Laura Harris, Jasia Akther, Minnu Mani, Taniya Bhatia, Jess Jonassen, Sneha Deepthi, Poonam Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Aparna Mondal