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WPL Auction - Beginning of something special?

Last updated on 10 Feb 2023 | 10:28 AM
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WPL Auction - Beginning of something special?

Content consumerism factor would, of course, decide the discourse later, but for now, it would be imperative how the investment goes into the financial stability of the players

The spring is upon us. The duality of winter is gone, or at least in most parts of India. The scorching power of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has reached the fever pitch. On the other hand, many eyeballs are fixated on the Indian Women’s team who are in South Africa to better their 2020 performance in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. 

All of these, however, will take a backseat on February 13 (Monday) when some of the richest business tycoons in India would sit across the table at the Jio Convention Centre in Mumbai to figure out a grand new future for women’s cricket. It will be a significant day in the history of the sport, for the event, could alter the way we perceive women’s cricket in general just like the one in the 2008 IPL. 

While the BCCI had been criticized in the past for moving the goalpost quite frequently, the last few days were definitely a change. From leading the charge of selling the media rights for a record-breaking 9.51 billion Indian rupees ($117 million) for a five-year period to breaking new grounds with huge corporate investments in the teams, the board has ensured that the business factor hasn’t taken a backseat at all while weighing the Women’s Premier League (WPL) with due attention given to the enterprise. 

The content consumerism and the sales factor would, of course, decide the discourse in the later stages as much as the real show on the field but for now, it would be imperative how the investment goes into the financial stability of the players. The auction would further provide a definitive insight into making women’s cricket a financially lucrative future option for girls in the remotest part of the country. 

What’s in store?

The inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) will take place between March 4 and 26 at two venues in Mumbai: the Brabourne Stadium and the DY Patil Stadium. 1525 players had registered for the auction and a total of 409 cricketers - 246 Indians and 163 overseas - are set to go under the hammer. The five franchises, based out of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Delhi, and Bengaluru, will be contesting for 90 slots with 30 being slotted for overseas players. 

Team Purse?

Every team will have the option of making a roster of a maximum of 18 players to be bought with a team purse of 12 Crores. Like IPL, there is no upper cap on the money a player would earn from the WPL, hence contest for big stars would be one to look forward to. If the teams go for five overseas players in their XI, they will have to include one player from an associate nation in the side as well, which means the likes of Esha Oza from UAE, Natthakan Chantham from Thailand, Sterre Kalis from the Netherlands would be in demand.

Players who could go for big bucks

Let us introduce you to Pramod Ananth’s complete handbook on the WPL where he takes a look at some of those players who could potentially attract a bidding war on February 13. From the likes of Smriti Mandhana, Meg Lanning, and Harmanpreet Kaur among the big stars to the comparatively unknown names like Divya Gnanananda, Tarannum Pathan, and Maya Sonawane, there are a lot of players who have made themselves compelling propositions for the Women’s Premier League auction. Follow the piece for more information.

What is the similarity with the 2008 IPL Auction?

Not a lot. While the basic premise has been kept intact, teams would go with full pocket and a completely new roster. Unlike the inaugural IPL season, there wouldn’t be any icon player concept this year, and neither do teams will have the option to sign players from their base cities. That makes things very interesting in a way and the team with the best homework would be the winner on Monday.

The final word

While there is no denying that the WPL is an incredible opportunity for women’s cricketers around the world, the most exciting prospect of the entire exercise is the way things have shaped up in the promotional campaigns. One thing that Women’s cricket in India lacked is the branding and support of the broadcasters, but now that there is skin in the game, from a financial standpoint, delivering the impetus wouldn’t be a concern. 

With that hope, one may expect that may WPL become a grand success and pave a new future. 

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