For the five teams, the Women’s Premier League (WPL) mini auction was primarily focused on addressing gaps in their squads.
Nonetheless, on Saturday afternoon, the spotlight was claimed by two uncapped Indian youngsters, Kashvee Gautam and Vrinda Dinesh, who garnered bids of Rs 2 crore and Rs 1.3 crore, from Gujarat Giants and the UP Warriorz, respectively.
“She (Kashvee) has the possibility of making it to the Indian team, and we are also looking forward to two more seasons and not just restricting to this season”Gujarat Giants’ mentor and former India captain Mithali Raj
While some of the top international stars like Chamari Athapaththu and Deandra Dottin went unsold, Australia’s all-rounder Annabel Sutherland was the most expensive overseas player, attracting the joint-highest bid of the auction at Rs 2 crore.
The Capitals had a purse of Rs 2.25 crore coming into the auction and the franchise exhausted most of that money by acquiring Sutherland, who was earlier released by Gujarat Giants.
An intense bidding battle unfolded between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, with the latter ultimately sealing the deal.
Capitals’ head coach Jonathan Batty said, “We obviously have a balanced squad anyway. If we were to improve one area, it would be our starting eleven, subject to the playing conditions. Annabel is a multi-skilled player – she could bat anywhere between No. 3 and No. 7. She bowls in all phases of the match and is a stand-out all-rounder. For us, she was going to be our No.1 pick from the start...”
The biggest story of the day, however, centred around Kashvee, a seam-bowling all-rounder who went unsold in the previous edition, making all heads turn. Having represented India A in the recently concluded T20 series against England A, Kashvee impressed with her bowling performances, delivering breakthroughs in crunch moments.
Her 12 wickets at the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy last month earned her a spot in the India A team. Prior to that, she was a part of India’s triumphant Under-23 squad at the ACC Emerging tournament in Hong Kong.
Gujarat Giants’ mentor and former India captain Mithali Raj said, “She (Kashvee) has the possibility of making it to the Indian team, and we are also looking forward to two more seasons and not just restricting to this season. Otherwise, we would have gone for an experienced player.
“We don’t want to find ourselves in a position where we need to release an experienced player again next season. We need to have some players who are young but not very inexperienced.”
“They have performed well in the U-19 World Cup or for India A or in the domestic circuit, so they have some form along with experience. The roles might be a bit different in the WPL, but still, it’s important to get that sort of performance from them,’ she added.
Just like Kashvee, Vrinda from Bengaluru has also impressed national selectors and franchises. She received invitations for trials from all the franchises in August, and eventually, UP Warriorz got her on board. During the auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) initiated the bid, but Warriorz escalated the price.
In the tricky realm of franchise leagues, young players who secure big-money deals have often struggled. However, Mithali believes that it is the responsibility of the franchises to boost their confidence.
“I don’t think they would be carried away. In fact, there would be lot more pressure as they have gone for such a high price. They know the expectations of the franchise because of the price. That’s where the challenge is for the management to give them the confidence,” Mithali said.
“The uncapped players may not necessarily be your match-winners, but they play the important supporting role that is expected from them…”
Having left out half of its squad, Gujarat Giants had several gaps to fill. They managed to make some smart acquisitions, spending Rs 1 crore for Phoebe Litchfield, along with Meghna Singh, Trisha Poojitha, Priya Mishra, Lauren Cheatle, Kathryn Bryce, Mannat Kashyap, Tarannum Pathan, and Veda Krishnamurthy.
While Indian players dominated the proceedings, former West Indies captain Dottin and Australian all-rounder Kim Garth remained unsold. England’s Danni Wyatt (Warriorz) and Kate Cross (RCB) found takers, while South Africa quick Shabnim Ismail was picked up by Mumbai Indians for Rs 1.2 crore.
“The extra pace is something that we wanted. She is one of those players who brings a lot to the group. I’m really excited about having her on board,” Mumbai Indians coach Charlotte Edwards commented on the inclusion of Ismail.
Among capped Indians, the seasoned campaigner Ekta Bisht attracted the highest bid of Rs 60 lakh for RCB, while Devika Vaidya did not find any takers. Overall, the teams were happy with their picks, even though they did not have a clarity on the venue of the tournament.
Though Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah said that the tournament will be held in ‘one state’, the franchises need to wait and watch before finalising their strategies for the tournament, which is expected to begin on February 22.
- WPL 2024: Having the league in different cities will improve profile of the tournament, says Mithali Raj
- One month before IPL 2024, Sawai Man Singh Stadium and RCA office sealed by Rajasthan Sports Council
- Odisha FC vs Mohun Bagan LIVE Score, OFC 0-0 MBSG, ISL 2023-24: Match updates, score and more
- Ranji Trophy Highlights 2024 Quarterfinals Day 2 Updates: Baroda starts well in Mumbai chase; TN increases lead vs SAU
- WPL 2024: Sajana Sajeevan - From paddy field cricket to overnight star for Mumbai Indians