The inaugural WPL player auction was a grand affair as Indian and foreign players went for huge amounts to various teams.
Smriti Mandhana went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for a whopping amount of Rs 3.40 crore. She earned the highest bid at the auction. The stylish left-handed batter was also the first player picked in the WPL auction.
Among the foreign players, Ashleigh Gardner secured a sum of Rs 3.2 crore and it was expected owing to her performances of late. Natalie Sciver also went for the same amount.
Let’s take a look a the 5 most expensive players in the first-ever WPL auction:-
1. Smriti Mandhana – Rs 3.40 crore (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
India’s vice-captain was always going to be a prized scalp in the auction. She still has a lot of cricket left in her as she is just 26 years old. However, she has heaps of experience in international cricket and has been part of many high-voltage clashes. Smriti will most likely be captaining the side as well. So, the amount of Rs 3.40 crore that RCB dished out for her shouldn’t come as a surprise.
In her illustrious T20I career, Smriti has played 112 matches and scored 2651 runs at an average of 27.32 and a strike rate of 123.13. She has also scored 20 half-centuries in her T20I career.
2. Ashleigh Gardner – Rs 3.20 crore (Gujarat Giants)
Australian players were expected to earn huge at the auction and so they did. Australia’s dominance in women’s cricket is surreal and they are also the defending champions of the T20 World Cup. Gardner is one of the star performers on the champion side.
The all-rounder has won many matches for Australia on her own. She has scored runs at an impressive strike rate of 133.62 in 68 T20Is at an average of 26.73. With the ball, her leg-spinners have helped her scalp 48 wickets at an economy rate of 6.23. She will certainly be a huge player for the Giants. The 25-year-old was also the Player of the Series on Australia’s last visit to India.
3. Natalie Sciver – Rs 3.20 crore (Mumbai Indians)
The Mumbai Indians know how to make champion teams. After winning the IPL trophy on five occasions, the Mumbai Indians will want to leave no stone unturned in their bid to win the WPL.
Nat Sciver is one of the finest all-rounders in world cricket and has won England numerous matches for a number of years. The inventor of the “Natmeg shot” has the experience of playing 105 T20Is. She has scored 2004 runs at an average of 25.36 and also picked up 78 wickets at an average of 21.25. Sciver scores her runs at a strike rate of 112.64 and has 20 half-centuries. Her experience will also rub off on the younger players.
4. Deepti Sharma – Rs 2.60 crore (UP Warriors)
She might not come under the spotlight as much as Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana but Deepti’s skills and records are a sight to behold. A proper all-rounder, Deepti can turn the game on its head in a matter of moments.
Deepti can fit into any team as a batter or as a bowler. That is the level of quality she has in both facets of the game. In 88 T20I matches, Deepti has scored 914 runs at an average of 26.11 and a strike rate of 106.52. The 25-year-old has also taken 97 wickets and given runs away at a miserly economy rate of 6.12. Deepti might also be given leadership duties due to her experience and never-say-die attitude.
5. Jemimah Rodrigues – Rs 2.20 crore (Delhi Capitals)
The right-handed batter can play sheet anchor or churn out runs at a brisk rate. She showed her class in India’s thrilling win against Pakistan in the ongoing T20 World Cup. When India was in a spot of bother, Jemimah didn’t panic and stitched a phenomenal partnership with Richa Ghosh to chase down the target. The 22-year-old was also awarded Player of the Match for her composed, unbeaten knock of 53 off 38.
In 66 T20I innings, Jemimah has scored runs at an average of 30.72. This shows her level of consistency. She also has 10 half-centuries and a decent strike rate of 113.44. The fact that she has a long career ahead of her makes her a superb pick.