Royal Challengers Bangalore pipped Mumbai Indians in a bidding war to buy India vice-captain Smriti Mandhana for Rs 3.40 crore in the inaugural Women’s Premier League auctions. India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur came much cheaper for Mumbai Indians at Rs 1.80 crore.
In the first Women’s Premier League auctions, Smriti Mandhana stole the show as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians in a bidding match to secure the India vice-captain for Rs 3.40 crore ($410,000) on Monday. All-arounder Deepti Sharma, who was acquired by UP Warriorz for Rs 2.6 crore, is the second most expensive Indian player thus far. The Mumbai Indians’ Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who cost almost half as much as Mandhana at Rs. 1.80 crore, was a considerably better deal. “Mandhana and Perry are well-known to everyone; we were really adamant about getting them. We are overjoyed to have such excellent players. For us, getting Mandhana, Perry, and Devine is a dream outcome “RCB Director of Cricket Mike Hesson made this statement during a press conference.
Given her extensive captaincy experience and familiarity with Indian weather, it is quite likely that Smriti will serve as captain. Ashleigh Gardner, an off-spin all-rounder from Australia, was selected in the first round and cost the Gujarat Giants, owned by Gautam Adani, Rs 3.20 crore ($386,000). Ellyse Perry, a prominent Australian all-rounder, was purchased by RCB for a cool Rs 1.70 crore ($205,000), while the team also acquired Sophie Devine, the captain of New Zealand, for a pittance at a base price of Rs 50 lakh. RCB has to acquire another 12 players and use the remaining Rs 6.40 crore to have a minimum squad size of 15 players because they have already used up Rs 5.60 crore of their Rs 12 crore budget.
For Rs 1.80 crore, UP Warriorz have acquired left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone of England. At the first Women’s Premier League auction, a total of 409 cricketers will be put up for auction, with players like Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Alyssa Healy, and Sophie Ecclestone maintaining their base price of Rs 50 lakh. Last week, IPL Chairman Arun Dhumal informed PTI that Mumbai would host all 22 games from March 4 through to 26. There are 409 players, 246 of whom are Indians, and 163, eight of whom are from associate countries.
There are 202 players with caps in all, 199 without caps, and 8 players from associate countries. With the five teams, there are a total of 90 slots available, 30 of which are for international players. The WPL is the second-largest T20 League in the world, behind the Indian Premier League, with the five clubs sold for Rs 4669.9 crore and the BCCI selling the media rights for Rs 951. crore. The five franchises were purchased by Capri Global Holdings (Lucknow) and the Adani Sportsline in addition to the three IPL team owners—Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Delhi Capitals. At the player auction, each team would have a budget of Rs 12 crore and be required to purchase a minimum of 15 players and a maximum of 18. Up to five overseas players, including one from an associate member country, will be allowed in the playing eleven.