The player auction for the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) is likely to be held in Mumbai on February 13. However, no official statement has been released and there may be last-minute changes.
Sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have indicated that the auction, which will see five franchises bidding for their choice of players, will be held in a plush South Mumbai hotel. The franchises have also been informally asked to start preparing for the day-long event and make their travel plans accordingly.
After announcing the five new teams for the inaugural edition of the tournament - which is expected to be played between March 4 to 24 - last week, the BCCI officials were planning to finish the auction by February 6, so that the franchises get a bit of breathing space to get their house in order.
But as reported earlier by Sportstar, at least three franchises have requested the Board to push back the event by at least a week to assemble their coaching staff. Another reason behind the request was the fact that majority of the owners of the five WPL franchises also have teams in the SA20 in South Africa and the ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates, finals of which will be held on February 11 and 12.
So, to make sure that the owners and the support staff are available on both the occasions and to avoid logistical challenges, the franchises suggested the WPL auction be held once those tournaments are over.
It is believed that Mumbai has been preferred over Delhi as the venue for the auction because of better connectivity from South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
Adani Group, Reliance-backed IndiaWin Sports, Capri Global, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals are the franchises which have got a team in the tournament which will have 22 games to begin with.
Four of the five WPL franchises - MI Emirates, Dubai Capitals, Gulf Giants (owned by the Adanis), and Sharjah Warriors (by the Capri group) - are featuring in the ILT20, while Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals have franchises in SA20 as well.
The tournament is expected to be played across two venues in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. The Wankhede Stadium has been earmarked for the IPL, while Brabourne Stadium and DY Patil Stadium are set to host WPL, with Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune as a back-up option.