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Breaking down the Women's Premier League auction

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Last updated on 13 Feb 2023 | 06:58 PM
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Breaking down the Women's Premier League auction

We analyse what each of the five sides did at the auction table

Phew!!!!

What an exhilarating seven hours we have witnessed in the history of women's cricket as the first-ever auction for the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League kicked off amid growing fanfare. 

And boy, it DID NOT DISAPPOINT ONE BIT, as the services of 88 players were acquired by five franchises for a three-week extravaganza that is set to script a glorious chapter in Indian cricket. 

After months of planning and anticipation for the big day, the Jio World Convention Centre was all ready for one of the most celebrated days for women's players across the globe. 

It was Shane Warne who etched his name in the record books as the first player to be picked in the 2008 Indian Premier League auction, who is it going to be for the women's side? 

And out comes the bail, and it is India's vice-captain, SMRITI MANDHANA!

Well, surely one of the names, Women's Premier League would have hoped to kick off their auction, and the franchises did not disappoint. 

It was the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore going hard for one of the sought-after openers in world cricket, and it was the Red army who had the final say as they picked her up for a whopping 3.40 Crores to kickstart the auction with an absolute bang. 

Number 18 jersey 🤝 RCB = Match made in heaven!

*DRUMROLLS, PLEASE!!!

Let's get started with breaking down how each team has fared at the auction table. And because Royal Challengers Bangalore were the first to get off the mark, it is only apt that we start our analysis with the Bengaluru franchise.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Auction Spent: INR 11.90 Cr, Purse Left: INR 10 Lac

Total Players: 18, Overseas: 6

The Royal Challengers Bangalore were probably one of the busiest franchises in the first set of the marquee list as they signed up Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry along with Mandhana.

The team is known to have a star-studded line-up, and they stuck to that tag as they roped in some of the biggest names in women's cricket in the first 45 minutes of the auction. 

Needless to say, the trio will form the core of the team for the inaugural edition and will step onto the field with a wealth of experience in playing franchise cricket around the globe. 

Another addition to the list of all-rounders is Dane van Niekerk, the South African player who is also regarded as one of the best captains in the shortest format. The 29-year-old has the ability to bat at the top of the order along with her leg spin and will lend a lot of balance to this playing XI. 

With wicket-keeper batter Richa Ghosh as well in the team, the role of a finisher looks settled, and so does their new ball bowling combination. They have two of the most deadliest inswing bowlers in women's cricket, with Renuka Singh and Megan Schutt in the ranks. 

Rest assured, there will not be any shortage of wickets in the powerplay!!!

Another exciting addition to the side has been the left-arm spin of Sahana Pawar, a young Karnataka player who has been one of the most impressive spinners in the domestic T20 competition. The 26-year-old will share the responsibility of restricting the flow of runs in the middle overs along with Kerala-born leg spinner Asha Shobana. 

Overall, the RCB outfit looks formidable, to say the least, and they have indeed lived up to all the hype and expectation. With the quality on paper, there is no surprise that they will be one of the teams to watch out for in the league. 

Likely XI: Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine, Dane van Niekerk, Ellyse Perry, Disha Kasat, Richa Ghosh (wk), Renuka Singh, Asha Shobana, Komal Zanzad, Megan Schutt, Sahana Pawar

Mumbai Indians

Auction Spent: INR 12.00 Cr, Purse Left: Nil

Total Players: 17, Overseas: 6

The Indian skipper is with the Mumbai Indians!!!

Harmanpreet Kaur was the second player to be picked in the auction, and the right-handed batter was signed for 1.80 Crores by the franchise. However, she wasn't the costliest pick for the side as they broke the bank literally for England all-rounder Natalie Sciver

The vice-captain for the English outfit was sold for 3.2 Crores, making her the joint-second most player in the list of highest bids along with Ashleigh Gardner for Gujarat Giants. 

Along with the duo, Mumbai have assembled a well-rounded squad with Amelia Kerr and Hayley Matthews in the ranks. While they will come in handy on sluggish surfaces in Mumbai, a lot will rely on their Indian players like Pooja Vastrakar and Amanjot Kaur. 

However, the team would be a little disappointed with their bowling resources as they do not have an experienced spinner in their ranks apart from Kerr. The bowling unit lacks variety and depth, and they will be overly reliant on Sciver and Harmanpreet to shoulder the responsibility of the side. 

Likely XI: Yastika Bhatia (wk), Hayley Matthews, Amelia Kerr, Harmanpreet Kaur, Natalie Sciver, Amanjot Kaur, Humairaa Kazi, Pooja Vastrakar, Saika Ishaque, Sonam Yadav, Isabelle Wong

UP Warriorz

Auction Spent: INR 12.00 Cr, Purse Left: Nil

Total Players: 16, Overseas: 6

The auction strategy of the Uttar Pradesh Warriorz was fairly simple: Stack up the side with plenty of all-around options!

And guess what, they did manage to get a few Indian all-around options along with some overseas stalwarts at steal prices. 

The team will see three players from the Australian side as Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath and Grace Harris will feature for the side. The trio will form the core of the batting unit along with Indian spin-bowling all-rounders Deepti Sharma and Devika Vaidya. 

The team also boasts of the number one bowler in women's T20I cricket, Sophie Ecclestone and the leading run-scorer of the Under-19 World Cup, Shweta Sehrawat. 

There ain't any doubt that the UP-based franchise looks formidable on paper, to say the least, and have most of their bases covered. 

Well, don't be surprised if they enter the will be one of the favourites to lift the coveted trophy. 

Likely XI: Shweta Sherawat, Alyssa Healy (wk), Tahlia McGrath, Kiran Navgire, Devika Vaidya, Deepti Sharma, Grace Harris, Sophie Ecclestone, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Anjali Sarvani, Parshvi Chopra

Gujarat Giants

Auction Spent: INR 11.95 Cr, Purse Left: INR 5 Lac

Total Players: 18, Overseas: 6

Gujarat Giants, one of the only teams to make an early appointment with Mithali Raj as their mentor have assembled a decent squad with some power-hitters along with a couple of upcoming domestic talent. 

In Beth Mooney, Ash Gardner and Deandra Dottin, the Giants boast of a formidable overseas batting unit along with Indian superstars Harleen Deol and S Meghana. 

However, one of the glaring areas of concern for the Giants will be the lack of experience in the bowling department, especially the pacers. With Hurley Gala and Monica Patel, they have two Indian pacers who have impressed with their talent at the domestic level.

However, the duo have not been tested under pressure, and with the stakes rocketing sky-high, this might lead to their downfall in the competition. 

Likely XI: Sabbineni Meghana, Beth Mooney (wk), Annabel Sutherland, Deandra Dottin, Ashleigh Gardner, Harleen Deol, Dayalan Hemalatha, Sneh Rana, Hurley Gala, Monica Patel, Tanuja Kanwer

Delhi Capitals

Auction Spent: INR 11.65 Cr, Purse Left: INR 35 Lac

Total Players: 18, Overseas: 6 (including 1 Associate)

The only team to have not acquired any players in the first set of the marquee list, Delhi Capitals have outperformed themselves in this auction. The Capitals opened their account by acquiring young batting sensation Jemimah Rodrigues along with Shafali Verma and Meg Lanning, in the second set. 

With the Australian skipper in the mix, the Capitals will most likely appoint her as their leader to guide this exciting bunch of players. The Delhi-based franchise have backed experience over exuberance and have South African all-rounder Marizaane Kapp, Jess Jonaseen and Shikha Pandey in the team. 

While Kapp and Pandey will spearhead the bowling unit, the left-arm spin of Jonassen and Radha Yadav, along with leg spinner Poonam Yadav will combine the bowling resources for the side. 

Despite being circumspect at the start, Delhi have assembled a squad that could well and truly hand them their first-ever title.

Likely XI: Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Meg Lanning, Alice Capsey, Taniyaa Bhatia (wk), Marizanne Kapp, Jess Jonassen, Shikha Pandey, Titas Sadhu, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav

The verdict

It was a day when daydreams became a reality, and numerous lives were changed for the good. After years of toiling hard under the grueling sun, the WPL has handed an opportunity to the domestic players to rub shoulders with the international stars whilst creating an impact.  

For someone who has followed women's sports to an absolute T, it is heartening to witness the growth and development of women's cricket in the nation and the efforts taken by various stakeholders to make this happen. 

To every person across the globe who has contributed to women's cricket, this one's for you! 

Fasten your seatbelt because the show is about to begin!!!

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