The 24 players in the top price bracket for the new Indian women’s T20 league have been named.
The inaugural competition is due to begin in March after the conclusion of the T20I Women’s World Cup in South Africa.
According to the BCCI, they received more than 1,500 applications from women interested in playing in the tournament, which they have now reduced to a shortlist of 163 overseas and 246 Indian players.
They will go into the auction on Monday (February 13th) when the respective franchises will pick their squads.
How the competition is taking shape
After years of discussion and expectation, the choosing of the players is the final building block in the process, which this year began with the sale of the media rights to Viacom 18 for the inaugural five-year cycle of the new league.
That was followed by the sale of the initial five franchises for the league which went for a combined total of £465 million.
Three of these were sold to owners of existing men’s Indian league franchises – The Mumbai Indians, the Delhi Capitals, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The other two went to Capri Global and the Adani Group.
Despite the financial turmoil threatening the latter with billions of dollars wiped off their share price following allegations of impropriety, there is no suggestion at this stage that will affect the ownership of their new team as it falls under a different arm of their organisation.
The BCCI believes that it has all the foundations in place to make the new league an instant success, and there are already indications that the demand is there among the public, both in India and overseas.
The new tournament will take place between 4th and 26th March with all matches played in Mumbai this year shared between the Brabourne and D.Y. Patil Stadiums. In future years, it is intended to play the competition across several cities.
Many will be disappointed
Even among those who have made the shortlist, many players are likely to be disappointed because there are only a maximum of 90 slots available with each franchise allowed to choose between 15 and 18 players.
30 places have been reserved for overseas players – six per team. Only five can be named in the starting XI though, one of whom must come from an Associate Member country.
How much will each franchise have to spend?
Each franchise will have around each £1.2 million to spend on players, which means that squad collection will be key. Whilst all the franchises will want to bring in some of the world’s best, they will need to make sure that there is enough left over to acquire sufficient strength in depth.
Nevertheless, the sums on offer are potentially life changing for some players.
For years, many women players have had to scrimp and save just to play the game that they love. This will help usher in a new era of professionalism for some,
The top bracket
The 24 players in the top bracket have a base price of £50,000 and include some of the top stars of women’s cricket at the moment.
Australia are represented by, among others, captain Meg Lanning and star all-rounder Ellyse Perry, whilst England’s representatives include Nat Sciver-Brunt – who was recently named ICC and ODI Player of the Year for 2022.
Also included are former West Indies all-rounder Deandra Dottin and the current Indian captain, Harmanpreet Kaur.
Other Indian players who have been included in the premium price category are Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, and Shafali Verma, who recently led India to success in the under-19 World Cup in South Africa.
If players fail to meet their base price at auction, then they will go unsold.
If what happens in the case of the men’s league is any guide, then the base price is just a floor, and the final price paid for some of the top stars can be many times more than that.
Sam Curran, for example, the top pick in this year’s men auction, was sold for £800,000.
Where is the auction taking place?
The auction will be held at the World Convention centre in Mumbai on Monday and is scheduled to begin at 14.30 pm local time.
VISIT OUR BLG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES