The auction for the new Indian women’s T20 league has been held in Mumbai.
A total of 448 players were being auctioned with a maximum of 90 slots available in the five franchises for the competition which will be staged for the first time between March 4th and 26th.
And it was Indian vice-captain Smriti Mandhana who fetched the record price. Mandhana, who missed India’s opening game in the T20I World Cup with a finger injury, was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 3.4 crore (£340,000). That was substantially over her base price of 50 lakh.
Nat-Sciver Brunt of England, the ICC Player of the Year for 2022, and Ashleigh Gardener of Australia were among the other big winners of the auction which was held by the BCCI on Monday in Mumbai.
Inevitably, there were some big names that went unsold. South African captain Sune Luus, her teammate Laura Wolvaardt, and New Zealand’s Suzie Bates were among those that failed to attract buyers.
Teams had a budget of around £1.2 million with which to build a squad of between 15 and 18 players, six of whom could come from overseas. Under the rules of the competition, a maximum of five foreign players can be in the starting XI, one of whom must come from a member country.
As ever, teams had to make their choices judicially, knowing that if they chose to spend big on one or two star names there would be less money left in the kitty for others.
However, for the lucky few, the sums involved are potentially life-changing.
How India’s stars did
The first player to be auctioned off was the Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who was bought by the Mumbai Indians for 1.8 crore.
Meanwhile, Jemimah Rodrigues, the star of India’s victory over Pakistan was sold to the Delhi Capitals for 2.2 crore. They also picked up Shafali Verma, who led India to under 19 World Cup success for 2 crore.
The UP Warriorz (UPW) paid 2.6 crore for Deepti Sharma, whilst Renuka Singh, the ICC Emerging Player of the Year, will be joining Mandhana in Bangalore after being sold in her case for 1.5 crore.
RCB also picked up Richa Ghosh whilst Pooja Vastrakar has joined the Mumbai Indians, both for 1.9 crore.
It was no surprise to see Sciver-Brunt join the Indians and Gardner picked up by the Gujarat Giants for 3.2 crore apiece. Each was expected to be among the highest recipients of individual bids.
What raised a few eyebrows is that Meg Lanning, the highly successful Australian captain, Only fetched 1.1 crore by the Delhi Capitals. And Tahlia McGrath, her Australian teammate and ICC T20 Player of the Year for 2022, might have expected to fetch more than the 1.4 crore that UPW paid for her in the end.
Of course, their price tag is no guarantee of how players will perform in the tournament itself. There have been plenty of example from the men’s competition of players who went for big money but failed to justify that afterwards. Franchises will be expecting the players they have bought to justify what has been spent on them.
Consolation for Van Niekerk
There was some consolation for Dane van Niekerk, the former South African captain who was dropped from their World Cup squad after failing a fitness test. She was sold to RCB for 30 lakh, whilst her partner Marizanne Kapp was bought by the Capitals for 1.5 crore.
How salaries compare
For players like Mandhana, Sciver-Brunt, and Gardner, the amount of money they are guaranteed for less than a month’s work is significant.
By way of comparison, the highest salary in The Hundred in the UK is £31,250, whilst the Women’s Big Bash League, the mast established of women’s T20 competitions, pays around £120,000 to its top players.
Of course, the new competition already has its sights set higher. It aims to emulate the men’s equivalent tournament as the biggest and most lucrative of its kind in the world.
The stage is now set for the action to begin, once the T20I Women’s World Cup in South Africa has ended.
VISIT OUR BLG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES