WPL | Five overseas picks who can fetch big bucks
(SportsCafe Graphic Team.
Every sport needs a progressive step to bring a positive change in it with respect to fame and finances. Female cricket, which was overlooked even by some of the ardent fans has been emerging in recent years and the Women’s Premier League can bring a complete transformation in the sport like IPL
It was a revolutionary moment in men’s cricket when the first IPL fixture was played on 18 April 2008 as the sport progressed in terms of popularity and finances after that. However, women’s cricket was still living in exile and the Indian women’s cricket team had played only one T20I by then. Only a few of the names in women’s cricket were popular amongst cricket fans and the sport was struggling in the aspect of getting recognition from the masses. The sport lacked facilities and on top of that, there were significantly less number of games as compared to their male counterparts.
Now, we have traveled through more than 1000 T20Is and a watershed moment in women’s cricket is to unfold in front the cricket fans across the globe. It is the Women’s Premier League (WPL) that is supposed to bring a revolution in the sport with five franchises sweating it out to lift the silverware. Fighting against the struggle of getting fame and recognition, the sport has reached a point where an elite league tournament is set to be scheduled in a few days.
The tournament will start in March and the auction for the competition will be held on February 13 in Mumbai. 163 players would be in contention for the 30 overseas spots as five is the maximum quota that can be included by the franchises. With the auction scheduled to occur in a few days, some of the global cricketing stars might grab the limelight with teams splashing out a hefty sum of money to recruit them. Here are five overseas players who might earn lucrative contracts at the auction table.
There is no doubt that Ellyse Perry is one of the best all-rounders in the current era with her ability to be consistent with the bat in the middle order and scalp key wickets with the ball in hand. Her T20I career is a testament to her excellence as she has scored 1475 runs from 80 T20I innings with an average of 31.38 and a strike rate of 110.81. However, her impact is not limited to the batting the pacer has been effective with the ball as well.
She has also picked 119 wickets registering both an average and strike rate below 20. Apart from international cricket, her overall T20 records are brilliant showing dominance with bat and bowling some magical spells. Perry has scored 6276 runs with an average of 41.29 and has picked 225 wickets with an economy of 6.10 from 316 matches.
Australia recently played a five-match series against India and she once again stepped up to the occasion. The Australian all-rounder scored 165 runs from three innings with an impressive average of 82.50 and a strike rate of 160.19. Perry has been one of the dominant players of her generation and her all-rounder skills make her a valuable asset in the shortest format of the game.
Her current form also tilts the odds in favour of the possibility of her being one of the most expensive buys in the auction. She has been the highest run-getter in the ongoing ODI domestic tournament with 435 runs across six innings with an average of 108.75. The Australian all-rounder has set her base price at a price of INR 50 Lakhs and considering her capabilities with the bat and ball, the franchises might break the bank to recruit her services.
Sophie Devine is one of the highly valued players in women’s cricket with her brilliant batting while opening the innings and dismissing batters with medium-pace bowling. After starting as a bowler, Devine has developed into one of the leading all-rounders of the game. Her career transformed after promotion to the opening slot and her feat of scoring six fifty-plus scores in the T20I cricket in 2020 was one of the most glorious moments in the sport.
Her career record highlights her marquee status as she has racked up 2950 runs in international cricket with an average of 29.79 and a strike rate of 122. Further her bowling prowess is evident from the tally of 110 wickets from 115 matches with a strike rate of 16.5 and a bowling average of 17.45.
The WPL is to be played in Mumbai, so the all-rounder will have to flourish in the Indian conditions. Historically, her performance on Indian soil makes her capable of outperforming others on Indian pitches. Devine has scored 222 runs from eight innings with an average of 31.71 and a massive strike rate of 172.09. Also, her bowling has been phenomenal with a record of 14 wickets from eight matches with a strike rate and bowling average of around 12.
Devine would be the best option for the teams who are looking for an opener who can bowl his full quota and so the all-rounder might cost the teams a pretty penny.
Ashleigh Gardner was in supreme form when Australia toured India in December last year, scoring 115 runs from three innings with an average of 57.50 and a strike rate of 166.66. Her contribution with the ball taking seven wickets from five innings with an economy of 7.11 capped off a superb performance. Further, she has always performed in Indian conditions which makes her a utility pick for the bidding process. The Indian pitches will offer some help for a spin and it further strengthens her case to be preferred by the teams.
Gardner has scored 208 runs across six innings in India averaging 34.66 and smashing the ball with a strike rate of 169.10. Her bowling has been equally impressive and the franchises would be vying for the cricketer who has a base price of INR 50 Lakhs. Gardener has scalped 13 wickets from 10 innings with an economy of 7.13 and she would like to dismiss some of the premier batters around the world in the inaugural season of the WPL.
Gardner also a vast experience in franchise cricket by playing in the Super Smash and WBBL for Northern Districts and Sydney Sixers respectively. Her experience might be fruitful for the franchise and she would be a contender to become one of the outstanding performers in the competition.
Mooney, the only wicketkeeper to feature in the first two sets for the auction which include marquee players, becomes a hot prospect at the auction with her incredible glovework behind the wickets along with a scintillating stroke play. In the recent T20I series against India a couple of months ago, Mooney was on fire with two 80+ scores across five matches. She also has an incredible record in India with 341 runs from 11 T20I innings with an average of 48.71 and 139.18.
The 29-year-old was in red-hot form last year scoring runs in the Commonwealth games. She amassed 449 runs from 13 innings with a brilliant average of 56.12 and a strike rate of 134.43 in 2023. Mooney has a price tag of INR 40 Lakhs and the teams can go overboard to acquire her services while sitting at the auction table. She is expected to garner a handsome amount of sum for the first season of the WPL.
Although Deandra Dottin doesn’t play international cricket anymore, she has been one of the greats of the game. Along with batting in the top order, Dottin troubles opposition batters with her medium-fast bowling. Dottin has 2697 runs from 125 T20I innings with an average of 25.69 and a strike rate of 123.55. Also, she has scored two international centuries out of which one resulted in a record-breaking knock. Dottin has the fastest century to her name reaching a hundred from 38 balls against South Africa in 2010.
Her performance in India further elaborates her dominance over the format, The all-rounder who was ranked at the top once in the ICC’s all-rounder rankings has 309 runs from 15 innings with an average of 23.77 and has struck the ball at 126.64. Once the pillar of the Caribbean side, Dottin has been equally sensational with the ball taking 19 wickets from 15 matches with an economy of 6.42.
Her recent form in the WBBL 2022/23 is a huge sign that the cricketer will make headlines at the auction table. Dottin was amongst the top five run-getters in the tournament with 362 runs from 16 innings with an average of 27.84 and a strike rate of 114.19 including three fifties. West Indian all-rounders have been always a feature of the IPL and Dottin might also mark the tournament with her exploits.