Business Standard

From Smriti's RCB to Healy's UP Warriorz, 87 players ready for WPL action

WPL is finally here and it will change the lives of hundreds of women cricketers in India and across the world, taking the game to a next level in the upcoming years

smriti mandhana

Smriti Mandhana

IANS New Delhi
After years of waiting and deliberations, the much-awaited Women's Premier League (WPL) is finally here and it will change the lives of hundreds of women cricketers in India and across the world, taking the game to a next level in the upcoming years.
Without even a ball being bowled, the WPL has already leapfrogged the WBBL and the Hundred to become the most lucrative women's cricket league in the world after garnering a record collective bid of Rs 4,699.99 crore from the five team owners, and another Rs 951 crore from broadcasting giant Viacom18 for the global television and digital media rights for the first five-year cycle (2023-27). Not to forget the title sponsorship rights.
Following the announcement of five WPL team owners and media right winner, it was time for the player auction and the five franchises spent Rs 59.50 crore to buy 87 players (30 overseas and 57 Indian), making top Indian as well as overseas women cricketers millionaires overnight by giving them long-overdue but rightful big bucks.
The historic and natural WPL player auction also gave women across the globe hope that cricket could become a lucrative career option for them. As per experts, even the lowest base price for capped players (Rs 30 lakh) was more than what most top-tier cricketers make in a season at the WBBL or the Hundred.
Leaving aside the financial stability, the WPL will give players a golden opportunity to showcase their skills and impress everyone with their breathtaking performances. Before the start of WPL on March 4 with the clash between Gujarat and Mumbai Indians, let's take a look at how five teams stack up after the auction and what are their strengths and weaknesses.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Squad: Smriti Mandhana (Captain), Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Renuka Singh Thakur, Richa Ghosh, Erin Burns, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Shreyanka Patil, Kanika Ahuja, Asha Shobana, Heather Knight, Dane Van Niekerk, Preeti Bose, Poonam Khemnar, Komal Zanzad, Megan Schutt, Sahana Pawar
Strengths: The star players like Smriti Mandhana (Captain), Ellyse Perry, Dane van Niekerk and Sophie Devine will be RCB's biggest strength. Apart from them, they also have impactful international performers like Heather Knight and Megan Schutt in their squad but it will be interesting to see what will be their four overseas players' preference, which is a good headache to have.
Also, the RCB has Indian rising stars Richa Ghosh and Renuka Singh, which help them in making a league-winning squad.
Weaknesses: The absence of a quality Indian wrist spinner might be a missing link in their squad.
Mumbai Indians (MI)
Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur, Natalie Sciver, Amelia Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, Yastika Bhatia, Heather Graham, Isabelle Wong, Amanjot Kaur, Dhara Gujjar, Saika Ishaque, Hayley Matthews, Chloe Tryon, Humairaa Kaazi, Priyanka Bala, Sonam Yadav, Jintimani Kalita, Neelam Bisht
Strengths: The proven match-winners in Harmanpreet Kaur, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Pooja Vastrakar and Hayley Matthews will be MI's biggest strength. Young Yastika Bhatia and other Under-19s will also add to their fire-power.
Weakness: The lack of backups and more inexperienced players could play as their weakness.
Gujarat Giants
Squad: Ashleigh Gardner, Beth Mooney, Sophia Dunkley, Annabel Sutherland, Harleen Deol, Deandra Dottin, Sneh Rana, Sabbineni Meghana, Georgia Wareham, Mansi Joshi, Dayalan Hemalatha, Monica Patel, Tanuja Kanwer, Sushma Verma, Hurley Gala, Ashwani Kumari, Parunika Sisodia, Shabnam Shakil
Strengths: Australia all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner, who performed brilliantly against India in the Men's T20 World Cup 2023 semifinal recently, will be a vital cog in Gujarat's success. Her Australian teammate Beth Mooney and the likes of Deandra Dottin and Sneh Rana are key players for Gujarat.
Weaknesses: The Indian players in Harleen Deol and S. Meghana have a little less experience and it will be interesting to see how they react in crunch situations.
UP Warriorz
Squad: Sophie Ecclestone, Deepti Sharma, Tahlia McGrath, Shabnim Ismail, Alyssa Healy (captain), Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Parshavi Chopra, Shweta Sehrawat, S. Yashasri, Kiran Navgire, Grace Harris, Devika Vaidya, Lauren Bell, Laxmi Yadav, Simran Shaikh
Strengths: Known as one of the most destructive batters in the world, seasoned Australian wicket-batter Alyssa Healy has been appointed as the skipper of the side and she will definitely be a vital cog in Warriorz's batting order.
Apart from Healy, the quality allrounders in Deepti Sharma, Tahlia McGrath and Grace Harris will be the team's biggest asset. Also the spin trio of Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sophie Ecclestone and Deepti seems to be the most deadly among all teams.
Weaknesses: The Warriorz team has their bases covered in all departments, except they don't have many players who can play the anchor role if a few wickets fall early in the innings.
Delhi Capitals (DC)
Squad: Jemimah Rodrigues, Meg Lanning, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Marizanne Kapp, Titas Sadhu, Alice Capsey, Tara Norris, Laura Harris, Jasia Akhter, Minnu Mani, Taniyaa Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Jess Jonassen, Sneha Deepthi, Arundhati Reddy, Aparna Mondal
Strengths: Capitals have a multiple World Cup-winning captain from Australia in Meg Lanning, who knows to get the best out of players and the same is expected from her at WPL. The likes of Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma and Marizanne Kapp give strength to Delhi's batting order while the core of their bowling group also has good players in Poonam Yadav, Jess Jonassen, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Arundhati Reddy.
Weaknesses: There is no perceived weakness for Capitals but their wicketkeepers Taniya Bhatia and Aparna Mondal are known for big hits and might not be able to give that flourish in the lower-middle order.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 26 2023 | 2:01 PM IST

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