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WPL auction: RCB, Gujarat put their season's fortune at the table

article_imageAUCTION PREVIEW
Last updated on 08 Dec 2023 | 09:21 AM
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WPL auction: RCB, Gujarat put their season's fortune at the table

Here is how all the five WPL teams are shaping up ahead of the big WPL auction in Mumbai on December 9

The season of women’s cricket is already here in India, and now it’s time for probably the second biggest event of that season — the auction for the second edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL). And in case you were wondering which would be the biggest event of the summer, we can’t go past the WPL season itself, can we? 

So, with the auction scheduled for Friday (December 9), here we are bringing you a preview of the auction with a detailed analysis of all five teams, the current squads, and who they can target in the auction. Let’s get going. 

Delhi Capitals

Purse remaining - 2.25 crores

Total available slots - 3

Available overseas slot - 1

Along with the Mumbai Indians, the Delhi Capitals (DC) were one of the best teams in the inaugural season, where they only slipped in two league games and the final. Meg Lanning’s side released Aparna Mondal, middle order hitter Jasia Akhter and the USA left-arm pacer Tara Norris ahead of the auction.

It leaves the space for an Indian middle-order hitter, a backup Indian wicket-keeper, and ideally, a replacement-level left-handed overseas top-order batter. With only three spots left, the JSW-owned franchise won’t have much work to do at the auction. However, they do need to fill the above spots. 

For the backup wicketkeeper's spot, the Capitals can target the uncapped Uma Chetry (base price - 10 Lakhs). Meanwhile, the left-handed overseas top-order batter spot has two great options: Phoebe Litchfield and Chamari Athapaththu. The latter would attract a lot of bids in all probability, in which case, young and exciting Litchfield makes for an interesting choice. For the Indian middle-order hitter, the DC think tank can also look towards the likes of Swagatika Rath and Ashwani Kumari, as both are amongst the few proven big hitters in the domestic circuit and also bowl off-spin and right-arm medium pace, respectively. 

Gujarat Giants 

Purse remaining - 5.95 crores

Total available slots - 10

Available overseas slots - 3

After a forgettable last season, which saw them end up with the wooden spoon, the Gujarat Giants (GG) have pressed the factory reset button quite hard and have released as many as 11 players from their squad. They have to build most of their squad, especially the bowling attack, from scratch, and hence have a crucial day coming up tomorrow. 

GG have retained the core of their batting, with skipper Beth Mooney, Laura Wolvaardt, Harleen Deol, Ashleigh Gardner, Dayalan Hemalatha and Sneh Rana occupying six of the top seven spots. With three overseas spots already being used here, they ideally only have one spot for an overseas bowler/all-rounder. Hence, they’ll have to target Indian batters in the auction for replacement options. 

In that regard, Jasia Akhter, Vrinda Dinesh (who impressed a lot this domestic season at the top), S. Meghna, and Uma Chetry (also provides a keeping option) are great candidates to look at along with Ashwani Kumari (who they released) and Sajana S from Kerala. They also need a keeper, and Chetry, Sushma Verma (another release) and Nuzhat Parween are good options. 

As for the bowling, they practically need everything. Kashvee Gautam (right-arm medium), Komal Zanzad (left-arm medium), and Hurley Gala (right-arm medium plus lower-order batting option) are some of the main Indian pace options available. And in the case of overseas pacers, the Giants can afford to splurge on bowlers like Shabnim Ismail, Kim Garth, Kate Cross, or even a left-field pick like Marufa Akhter from Bangladesh, who has impressed a lot in her short career. As far as spin options are concerned, they have a plethora of skilful Indian spinners to choose from, some of which were discussed above in the case of DC as well. 

UP Warriorz 

Purse available - 4 crores

Total available slots - 5

Available overseas slot - 1

The UP Warriorz (UPW) had a middling inaugural season, winning exactly half of their games. This season, they are going into the auction, having released four players, which includes Devika Vaidya (an expensive pick at 1.4 crores) and Shabnim Ismail. This has freed up the space for Alyssa Healy’s team to invest in Indian batters and all-rounders, including an overseas pacer/allrounder. 

The UPW should go all guns blazing for Ashwani Kumari, Swagatika Rath, Simran Dil Bahadur, Mansi Joshi and Hurley Gala, all all-rounders with good hitting ability. The best part is that apart from Rath, they are pace bowling all-rounders, and with UPW already having a stacked-up spin bowling attack, they can look to add some utility players. 

With four crores in their tank and no Shabnim Ismail, they can go after the many good overseas pace bowling options like Kate Cross, Lauren Cheatle and Lea Tuhuhu. They can also get Deandra Dottin, further bolstering their top order with Healy and Tahlia McGrath. Dottin will also provide a fast bowling option at the death. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore 

Purse available - 3.35 crores

Total available slots - 7

Available overseas slots - 3

Choked with some of the biggest names in Women’s cricket, RCB were everybody’s team to look out for in the first season of the WPL. However, they managed to win only a quarter of their games in the tournament. Hence, they released six players, including Dane Van Niekerk and Megan Schutt, ahead of the auction. 

With 3.3 crores in their purse, they require ideally one gun overseas pacer and a few Indian lower and middle order batting options like most other teams. With Shabnim Ismail back in the auction, RCB going all guns blazing after her would be right on brand with them. Moreover, they can also look at Deandra Dottin to fill that role as they already have Ellyse Perry, who can pitch in as a power play or middle overs pacer, which leaves Dottin to do the job at the death, which she’s quite good at. It will make their already-stacked batting even scarier. 

Apart from that, they should strongly look for an Indian left-arm spinner as they have none now. Hence, don’t be surprised if Mannat Kashyap and Ekta Bisht are on their radar. RCB can also look at strengthening their middle order with Veda Krishnamurthy, Jasia Akhter or Sajana S. They might also need a backup keeper, and Shivali Shende, along with Nuzhat Parween and Sushma Verma can be the possible cheap options tomorrow. 

Mumbai Indians 

Purse available - 2.1 crores

Total available slots - 5

Available overseas slots - 1

At last but definitely not least, we have the winners of the inaugural WPL, the mighty MI, who don’t have much to do tomorrow except pick up a few replacement picks. 

The Charlotte Edwards-coached team released only four players - top-order batter Dhara Gujjar, Australian allrounder Heather Graham, and Indian spinners Neelam Bisht and Sonam Yadav. Tomorrow, in the auction, they can look to get like-for-like replacements. 

S. Meghana and Vrinda Dinesh can be better replacements for Gujjar, but they might come expensive tomorrow. If that happens, MI can look to get Priya Puniya or Nuzhat Parween (who also provides backup-keeping options), who’ll probably be sold at base price tomorrow. 

For Heather Graham’s replacement, South Africa’s pace bowling allrounder Nadine De Klerk makes a compelling case, along with other options like Erin Burns and Nicola Carey. MI can also look at someone like Ireland’s Orla Prendergast, who impressed many in the T20 World Cup in South Africa. 

As far as the Indian spinners are concerned, MI have a huge variety they can choose from, but Mannat Kashyap can be slotted into the squad straight away in place of her fellow U19 World Cup-winning left-arm spinner Sonam Yadav. Devika Vaidya also provides batting along with her steady leg-spin. 

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