The historic Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction is just days away and that will mark a new era in Indian cricket, especially for the women cricketers who for years have gone under the radar due to the popularity of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While the WPL is by no stretch of imagination a groundbreaking tournament given that there have been similar tournaments played in England and Australia, it will still go on to attract eyeballs worldwide and will play host to some of the best Indian and international cricketers.
With that, let’s take a look at some of those players who could potentially attract a bidding war on February 13:
The big guns
Smriti Mandhana (INR 50L)
One of the best batters in the world, Smriti Mandhana is sure to induce a massive bidding war and could also be the captain of her franchise. As someone who has played franchise cricket around the world, the southpaw is highly experienced and with 2,561 T20I runs to her name, she is the second-highest run-getter for India in the format.
Since 2021, no player has scored more T20I runs than Mandhana (935) and she has done so at a handsome strike-rate of 130.6.
Harmanpreet Kaur (INR 50L)
The Indian captain is no stranger to setting the stage on fire regardless of the format or competition she plays in and it will not be different this time around too. The 34-year-old is sure to attract plenty of bids given her ability to chip in all three departments and like Mandhana could also be seen as the captain of her franchise. With close to 3,000 runs in T20Is, do not be surprised one bit if Harman ends the auction with the most amount.
Meg Lanning (INR 50L)
Moving away from the Indian marquee players, if there is one player who needs absolutely no introduction is Meg Lanning. As captain, she has helped Australia dominate world cricket, be it in ODIs or T20Is.
Among overseas players, Lanning could very well be the one who fetches the most money. She took a break following Australia’s victory in the Commonwealth Games in July last year but having returned to action last month, it does not look like she has skipped a beat as she gears up to lead Australia to yet another T20 World Cup title.
Deandra Dottin (INR 50L)
One of the most experienced players in the world, West Indies all-rounder Deandra Dottin has all the qualities to shine for any franchise. 2,697 runs at a strike-rate of 123 and 62 wickets at an economy rate of under seven in T20Is are terrific numbers that make her a hot property in the auction. Having represented her region in 270 international games, Dottin certainly does boast of a vast experience that no franchise can ignore.
Sophie Devine (INR 50L)
Like Dottin, New Zealand captain Sophie Devine too could be worth keeping an eye on given her ability to score at a high pace and can also deliver a few overs of medium-pace to choke the opposition.
She has been the White Ferns’ leading run-getter in T20Is since 2021, scoring 502 runs at 25.15. With the ball, she has chipped in with 19 scalps conceding 6.71 runs per over in this period.
Uncapped talents from India
Divya Gnanananda (10L)
The Karnataka top-order batter was one of the most prolific run-getters in the Senior One-Day Trophy with 396 runs at 49.50 to go with a strike-rate of 84.25, but in the T20 edition before, managed just 82 runs at a strike-rate a shade over 101. However, given that she is in top form at the moment, she could do a terrific job if given an opportunity at three.
Tarannum Pathan (10L)
The Baroda off-spinner was in excellent form in the Senior One-Day Trophy, picking up 14 wickets at 9.35 and an economy rate of just 3.62. If you look at her overall T20 figures, she has 79 wickets, conceding runs at 4.74 an over and is no mug with the bat as well, that includes over 1,000 runs and a couple of fifties.
Tanuja Kanwer (10L)
A left-arm spinner who has had a couple of prolific tournaments in the lead-up to the auction, Tanuja with a base price of just 10 lakh could easily be among those who could be sold for way more than that. She finished the One-Day Trophy with 18 wickets at 11.16 and in the domestic T20 tournament before that, she managed eight wickets at an economy rate of just 3.03. Would certainly be worth to keep an eye one her.
Maya Sonawane (10L)
The 23-year-old leg-spinner has already gotten the taste of bowling at the senior level when she turned up for Velocity against the Harmanpreet-led Supernovas in the Women’s T20 Challenge last year. The leg spinner has an uncanny action that resembles like Paul Adams and is handy with the bat down the order. Sonawane is seen more as someone who can keep the runs down and not so much of a wicket-taker in T20s, having picked up 22 wickets at an economy rate of 6.08. But the control she possesses could make her a threat.
Jasia Akhter (20L)
In 2017, Jasia Akhter, hailing from Shopian in Jammu & Kashmir became the first woman from the state to be selected for a national camp at the NCA. Though she did not go on to play for India, two years later, she appeared for the Trailblazers, led by Mandhana in the Women’s T20 Challenge. At 34, still uncapped, she now has a chance to add another feather to her cap – to feature in the inaugural WPL. Turning up for Rajasthan, she finished as the leading run-getter in the One-Day Women’s competition with 501 runs at a strike-rate of 112.58 and struck at over 132 in the T20 competition before that, making her a very useful option at the top.
Rising stars (U-19)
Shweta Sehrawat (10L)
Just when one thought Shafali Verma will be taking all the glory in the U-19 T20 World Cup in South Africa, it was her opening partner Shweta Sehrawat who set the stage on fire with her extravagant strokeplay. She in fact finished the tournament as the leading run-getter with 297 runs at a strike-rate of close to 140. With a base price of just 10 lakh, we can expect the 18-year-old to find a team with ease.
Mannat Kashyap (10L)
The left-arm spinner ended the U-19 T20 World Cup as India’s second highest wicket-taker with nine scalps at 10.33. Moreover, she conceded at just 4.65 per over. At the senior level though, in T20s, the 19-year-old has picked up nine wickets at 10.55 to go with an economy rate of 4.52. Overall, she comes across as a skillful bowler with immense potential to succeed.
Parshavi Chopra (10L)
Parshavi Chopra, the leg-spinner, ended the U-19 T20 World Cup as the second-highest wicket-taker, picking up 11 wickets at a staggering average of seven and economy rate of just 3.66 as she played a pivotal part in helping India clinch the crown. She is certainly one that could soon graduate to the senior Indian team as well and any franchise would want to get their hands on such a budding star.
Grace Scrivens (10L)
Grace Scrivens led England admirably in the U-19 T20 World Cup, but had to settle for runner’s up finish in the end.
On a personal front, she would be pleased with her performance having finished as the second-highest run-getter in the tournament with 293 runs at a strike-rate of 129.07, that included three fifties from seven innings. It will not be surprising to see her make the senior England team in the next couple of years or so.
Hurley Gala (10L)
Part of the victorious U-19 T20 World Cup triumph, India all-rounder Hurley Gala is someone who is rated quite highly. Overall, at the U-19 level, Gala has picked up nine wickets at 9 to go with a superb economy rate of 4.76. She has not featured in the Mumbai setup as often as she would like, but the WPL provides her a platform to show her prowess with both bat and ball. At a base price of 10 Lakh, she could be a gamble worth taking.
Fran Jonas (30L)
The left-arm spinner from New Zealand, Fran Jonas had to pull out from the U-19 T20 World Cup due to a calf injury, but at just 18, she has already played 23 international matches for the White Ferns and has 21 wickets to her name. Among the overseas bowlers, Jonas could be among the picks who could induce some sort of bidding war.
What about the associates?
A total of eight players from the associate nations have been shortlisted in the auction. Having at least a player from the associate nation is mandatory for all franchises. As an added bonus, a side will be able to field five overseas players, provided one of them is from an associate nation. Here’s a look at some of the players that could attract bids:
Esha Oza (10L)
24-year-old Esha Oza has is the only player who has hit over 1,000 runs in T20Is and with the ball, her off-breaks have fetched her 30 wickets, which is the most for her country after Chaya Mughal (31). Any team would be lucky to have such a talented player in their side. Having played plenty of matches for Mumbai, before making the move to UAE in 2021, she will feel quite at home in the WPL.
Natthakan Chantham (20L)
Thailand batter Natthakan Chantam is no stranger to playing in India, turning up for the Trailblazers and Velocity in the Women’s T20 League exhibition matches. She won the tournament with the Trailblazers in 2020 and in 2022, she was part of the team that finished second. Other than her batting prowess, she is also a terrific fielder, proving it time and again for Thailand and the other teams she has represented.
Sterre Kalis (10L)
Netherlands batter Sterre Kallis is someone who has the hunger to score big. There have been only five other individual scores which are better than her unbeaten 126 which she scored against Germany in 2019. She also holds the record for the third-best individual score (88*) on a T20I debut. She also played in The Hundred, turning up for Northern Superchargers in 2021. She could break a few more records in the WPL if given an opportunity.
Mahika Gaur (10L)
There are very few who have made an impact on the international scene at 16 as Mahika Gaur. Her left-arm pace has fetched her nine wickets in T20Is at an economy rate of 5.15.
She was also part of the recently-concluded U-19 T20 World Cup where she picked up a couple of wickets and showed a glimpse of what she can do with the bat as well scoring 79 runs, the second most for her team in the tournament. She is certain to attract a bid or two on February 13.
Theertha Satish (10L)
The UAE continue to churn out plenty of talented players and Theertha Satish is certainly among one of those. The 18-year-old wicketkeeper-batter has already turned up for the UAE senior team, playing 33 matches for them, scoring 823 runs at 35.78 along with a strike-rate of 109.58. She also ended the U-19 T20 World Cup as UAE’s highest run-getter with 106 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 123.25.
(With inputs from Shweta Haranhalli)
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