WPL Auction 2023: Who could be five most expensive players in the inaugural Women's Premier League auction
From Smriti Mandhana to Shafali Verma and Harmanpreet Kaur - Who will win the highest bid at the inaugural WPL Auction?
After years of demand and calling out the board, fans finally have their wish as Indian women's cricket is set to embark on a new journey with Women's Premier League. The much-awaited women's T20 tournament from India is set to have its inaugural edition from March 4 to 26. But before that comes team building.
Five franchises will go to a bidding war against each other on February 13th with a plethora of talent in the women's game. From Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur to Smriti Mandhana to Alyssa Healy to Sophie Devine, some of the biggest names will be in high demand in the players' auction on Monday. Let's take a look at five candidates who could go on to become the most expensive players in the inaugural WPL Auction.
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It is no surprise that Smriti Mandhana would be one of the most sought-after players in the auction. The Indian superstar would bring immense value to the side. She's one of the biggest stars in world cricket, bringing instant brand value to a WPL franchise. From her cricketing point of view, there are very few players in the world who can match Mandhana the batter. She has scored over 4000 runs since 2018 at a strike rate of 135 while averaging around 30.
Ellyse Perry has basically been a poster girl of women's cricket for over a decade. The Australian superstar would tick a lot of boxes for any franchise in the WPL. She brings star power, she brings all-round value and she brings tremendous experience. For most of her career, Perry was criticised for her scoring rate but she has reinvented her game like no one would've imagined. Since last December, Perry has scored 262 runs in five innings at an average of 87 while striking at 159.
Shafali Verma is 19-year old and is already a superstar in Indian women's cricket. She has the ability to destroy bowling attacks on her day and has been bowling more often in recent times. Her age means a franchise can potentially secure her services for the next decade. Shafali recently led India to an Under19 women's T20 World Cup triumph. Verma's form isn't on her side but you can't rule out a franchise for backing her potential and going all-out for her.
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The England all-rounder is one of the top cricketers in the game with a skill set only a few can match. Nat Sciver-Brunt is amongst the best middle-order batters who can anchor the innings and take down bowlers as a finisher. She's also a bankable four-over bowler. She was brilliant in the women's Hundred, scoring 228 runs in six matches at 76 average and 122 strike rate while picking six wickets. She began the T20 World Cup with a solid 30-ball 40*. Her form and ability could fetch her big salary in the auction.
Ashleigh Gardner is one of the most destructive batters in the world and can run through opponents with her off-spin bowling. She has been in incredible form in recent times, making an impact on a consistent basis. Since the start of 2022, Gardner has scored 593 runs in 34 T20 matches at an average of 37 and a strike rate of around 150. She has also bagged 44 wickets in this period at 6 RPO. Her value increases on Indian pitches, making her a top draw in the auction.