Mumbai: The inaugural Womens Premier League (WPL) player auction in Mumbai on Monday saw 87 players picked up by five teams, out of which 30 were overseas cricketers, with INR 59.5 crore the overall money spent in the auction.
India vice-captain Smriti Mandhana was the most expensive pick at INR 3.4 crore when Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) snapped her. Smriti was also the first player to have come up in the auction.
Australia’s off-spin all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner and England vice-captain Nat Sciver-Brunt were joint biggest overseas buys with INR 3.2 crore each. While Ashleigh went to Gujarat Giants, Nat was roped in by Mumbai Indians.
Bangalore also bought New Zealand captain Sophie Devine at her base price of INR 50 lakhs, Australia’s premier all-rounder Ellyse Perry for INR 1.7 crore. They also added India’s big-hitting wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh, a member in the victorious Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup campaign, for INR 1.9 crores, apart from getting pacer Renuka Thakur for INR 1.5 crore.
In the end stages of the auction, Bangalore also got England captain Heather Knight for INR 40 lakh, while also getting in Australia pacer Megan Schutt in the same amount. They also got South Africa’s regular captain and all-rounder Dane van Niekerk for INR 30 lakh.
Mumbai Indians, who failed to acquire Smriti’s services, beat challenge from Bangalore and Delhi Capitals to buy India captain Harmanpreet Kaur for INR 1.8 crore. After getting in Nat, Mumbai got more Indian regulars in all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar for INR 1.9 crore and wicketkeeper-batter Yastika Bhatia for INR 1.5 crore.
They also got in New Zealand’s leg-spin all-rounder Amelia Kerr for INR 1 crore and acquired West Indies captain Hayley Matthews for INR 40 lakh. Mumbai also got Australia’s pace all-rounder Heather Graham for INR 30 lakh and South Africa all-rounder Chloe Tryon for INR 30 lakh, apart from getting England pacer Issy Wong for INR 30 lakh and India all-rounder Amanjot Kaur for INR 50 lakh.
Off-spin all-rounder Deepti Sharma was the second most-expensive Indian player with INR 2.6 crores paycheck by UP Warriorz. The side spent big money on getting Australia’s fast-bowling all-rounder Tahlia McGrath and India all-rounder Devika Vaidya for INR 1.4 crore each, while also getting South Africa pacer Shabnim Ismail at INR 1 crores.
Gujarat and Delhi both wanted England’s left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, but Warriorz got her for INR 1.8 crore, and also got Australia wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy for INR 70 lakh, followed by her countrymate Grace Harris.
Lower-order power-hitter Kiran Navgire was also bought by Warriorz for INR 30 lakh, so as England pacer Lauren Bell in the same amount. Warriorz also signed a bevy of prominent Indian players in Anjali Sarvani (INR 55 lakh), Rajeshwari Gayakwad (INR 40 lakh), U19 World Cup winners Parshavi Chopra (INR 10 lakh), Shweta Sehrawat (INR 40 lakh) and S Yashasri (INR 10 lakh).
Delhi Capitals did not make any signings from the first two marquee sets. They finally opened their account in set three, signing in top-order batter Jemimah Rodrigues (INR 2.2 crore), who led India’s chase of 150 against Pakistan in Women’s T20 World Cup, followed by India’s U19 Women’s T20 World Cup winning captain Shafali Verma (INR 2 crores) and Australia’s multiple World Cups winning skipper Meg Lanning (INR 1.1 crore).
England all-rounder Alice Capsey was bought by Delhi for INR 75 lakh while South Africa all-rounder Marizanne Kapp was bought by the franchise for INR 1.5 crore, and Australia left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen was acquired for INR 45 lakh.
Delhi then got USA bowler and lone associate pick in the auction Tara Norris for INR 10 lakh and got the better of Bangalore to get Australia all-rounder Laura Harris for INR 45 lakh and also got India leg-spinner Poonam Yadav for INR 30 lakh.
They also got Indian players like Shikha Pandey (INR 60 lakh), Radha Yadav (INR 40 lakh), Taniyaa Bhatia (INR 30 lakh), Sneha Deepthi (INR 30 lakh), Arundhati Reddy (INR 30 lakh), and U19 Women’s T20 World Cup Player of the final Titas Sadhu (INR 25 lakh).
Followed by the signing of Ashleigh, Australia opener Beth Mooney was bought by Gujarat for INR 2 crore while England opener Sophia Dunkley was acquired for INR 60 lakh. They also made solid overseas buys in Annabel Sutherland (INR 70 lakh), Deandra Dottin (INR 60 lakh), and Georgia Wareham (INR 75 lakh).
In terms of Indian players, they got performers like Harleen Deol (INR 40 lakh), Sneh Rana (INR 75 lakh), Sabbhineni Meghana (INR 30 lakh), Mansi Joshi (INR 30 lakh), Dayalan Hemalatha (INR 30 lakh), Monica Patel (INR 30 lakh), Sushma Verma (INR 60 lakh), Hurley Gala (INR 10 lakh) and Shabnam Shakil (INR 10 lakh).
Some of the biggest names which went unsold at the auction were Laura Wolvaardt, Danni Wyatt, Alana King, Sune Luus, Lizelle Lee, Chamari Athapaththu, Suzie Bates, Darcie Brown, Lea Tahuhu, Katherine Sciver-Brunt, Tammy Beaumont and Stafanie Taylor. In terms of Indian players, Simran Dil Bahadur, Priya Punia, Soumya Tiwari, Archana Devi, Meghna Singh and Ekta Bisht were missing.