Gujarat Giants have the biggest purse available with Rs 5.95 crore but also have 10 slots to fill.
The Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 auction is gaining momentum as 165 players are set to go under the hammer in Mumbai on Saturday, December 9. In this pool, 104 players are Indian, while 61 players come from other countries.
However, the five WPL franchises – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Giants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and UP Warriorz – face the challenge of filling only 30 slots across their teams. Each team can have a maximum of 18 players in their squad. This requires the teams to perform at their best to create a winning formula essential for the upcoming season and avoid any tactical blunders.
As the teams prepare to bid for top talents, let’s examine what each team might need to reshape the dynamics of the squad and set an early tone for success in the second season of WPL in February-March next year.
Led by India’s national captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Mumbai Indians had their big guns firing in the inaugural edition which helped them win the title.
Batter Nat Sciver-Brunt and bowlers Hayley Matthews, and Issy Wong emerged as top performers in the first season. The site also boasts other big names like Amelia Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, and Yastika Bhatia.
Ahead of the auctions, the champions released youngsters Dhara Gujjar and Sonam Yadav. With Rs 2.1 crore left in the purse, they might seek a couple of home-grown all-rounders. They are allowed to buy a maximum of five players, including one overseas player.
Releasing 10 players from their WPL 2023 squad, the Giants aim for a complete makeover. Despite finishing at the bottom of the WPL 2023 points table with only two wins from eight matches, they have enough cash in the purse to orchestrate a turnaround for the 2024 season. Gujarat Giants have Rs 5.95 crore at their disposal.
Among the 10 available slots, Gujarat Giants also have three openings for foreign players. This allows them to consider investing in star players such as West Indian Deandra Dottin, English wicketkeeper Amy Jones, or veteran South African pacer Shabnim Ismail.
On the flip side, the Giants may choose a more balanced approach as they currently have only eight players in their squad. They could distribute their bids across various player categories to build a well-rounded team and increase the squad strength to at least 15 players.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Guided by India’s batting stalwart Smriti Mandhana, RCB entered the WPL 2023 season as front-runners but fell short of making it to the final. With seven slots to fill, they have an available purse of Rs 3.35 crore. They can acquire a maximum of three foreign players.
RCB has retained high-impact players like Australia’s Ellyse Perry, England’s Heather Knight, and New Zealand’s Sophie Devine. Despite this, Mandhana’s team is on the lookout for an additional quality bowling option in their lineup. The team also requires an experienced Indian player, considering the squad includes talents like teenager Richa Ghosh.
Jemimah Rodrigues, Meg Lanning, Shefali Verma, Shikha Pandey, and Taniyaa Bhatia form the core of the DC team, as strategically set up by the management in the first season. Despite losing the final to Mumbai Indians, DC topped the table in the inaugural edition and decided to release just three players ahead of the 2024 auction.
DC released American cricketer Tara Norris and may be looking to acquire a left-arm medium-pace bowler as her replacement, along with a couple of Indian players. They aim to stay within the collective budget of Rs 2.25 crore.
The team heavily relies on key players like Alyssa Healy, Sophie Ecclestone, Tahlia Mcgrath, and Deepti Sharma. The team’s think-tank might prioritize acquiring a quality seam bowler, especially following the release of South African speedster Shabnim Ismail.
UP Warriorz presently has 13 players in the squad with Rs 4 crore to fill the remaining five positions. The team should concentrate on adding quality Indian players to their lineup, especially after parting ways with Devika Vaidya, who struggled in the first season after being acquired for Rs 1.4 crore.