On Saturday in Mumbai, 165 Indian and international players will be up for auction for the upcoming 2024 Women’s Premier League. The success of the inaugural season last year saw fans in the country be witness to famed Indian players like Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana alongside international stars like Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Sophie Devine and more.
While Lanning and Healy, who captained their teams Delhi Capitals and UP Warriorz respectively, were retained, players like Dane van Niekerk (South Africa), Megan Schutt (Australia), Kim Garth (Australia) were released from their franchises.
A total of 61 international players from 13 countries (England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, United States, Thailand, Netherlands and Hong Kong) have entered their names in the auction list.
All five teams will have a new purse of Rs 1.5 crore along with the money gained from the releases and any remaining money left over from the 2023 auction.
Here we take a look at five international players to look out for at the auction:
Arguably one of the biggest attractions this auction, Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu is an all-round package that brings stylish batting together with sensible spin bowling in a match-winning player.
Fresh off her exploits in the Women’s Big Bash League, Athapaththu was the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 552 runs in 14 innings at an average of 42.46 and a strike rate of 127.18. With the ball in hand, the Sri Lanka captain picked up nine wickets at 27.22 and an economy rate of 6.83.
The 33-year-old is in the form of her life after stints in the Women’s Caribbean Premier League, the Fairbreak Invitational and the Women’s T20 Challenge. Often, she is the anchor of the Sri Lankan innings, which was the case during the Hangzhou Asian Games where she led her country to a silver medal in the women’s cricket event.
Athapaththu has valued herself at Rs 30 lakhs which could certainly rise higher as teams will look to secure her talent in the second edition.
The South African medium pacer has plied her trade across the world in different Twenty20 leagues, including her most recent outing with the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL. Shabnim Ismail will be entering the auction list at a base price of Rs 40 lakhs after being released by the UP Warriorz – where she picked up three wickets in three matches at an economy of 8.76 and a strike rate of 21.
In T20 internationals, Ismail is the leading wicket-taker for South Africa with 123 wickets in 113 matches, making her an incredible well of experience on most surfaces. Teams would be eyeing to pick her up especially after her solid performances in the WBBL where the 35-year-old finished the tournament with 13 wickets in in 13 matches at an average of 23.23.
The first T20I in the on-going series between India and England was Dannielle Wyatt’s 150th match in the format, becoming the third player after India’s Harmanpreet Kaur and New Zealand’s Suzie Bates to cross the landmark. Notably, she’s the first player from her country to achieve this milestone – Nat Sciver-Brunt is on 112 while Jos Buttler is on 109. While that speaks volumes about her longevity in the game, her scintillating half-century as England beat the hosts by 38 runs in Mumbai was a timely reminder to the WPL teams ahead of the auction.
Wyatt was one of the many international stars that failed to garner interest in a team in the 2023 edition. The England batter took that snub on her shoulders and turned it around by performing at her best during the last 12 months. A test debut in the Women’s Ashes where she made scores of 44 and 54 showcased her mettle. Wyatt also was the Player of the Final in the Hundred where she led her team, Southern Brave, to victory after missing out in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
The 32-year-old posseses the wisdom that comes with playing those many matches and knowing when to take the pressure on herself. Now having valued herself at Rs 30 lakhs, Wyatt will be hoping for redemption come December 9.
The first female cricketer to score a T20 century, Deandra Dottin is probably one of the best batters in the format. Over her 14-year career so far, Dottin has scored over 2500 runs in T20Is and is known for her quick thinking and incredible power batting. The West Indian player is also handy with the ball, having taken 62 wickets across 127 matches and has proven herself to be a vital all-rounder in any squad which she is a part of.
Although she was signed by Gujarat Giants in the inaugural season, the Barbados native did not get to play a single match because of her last-minute release from the squad before the tournament began. According to the franchise, because Dottin was unable to obtain a medical clearance in time, she was unable to be declared fit for the league.
The 32-year-old has put herself in the highest bracket – Rs 50 lakhs – and has been active in the WCPL and the Hundred this year. There is sure to be a few teams vying to secure her all-round abilities for their squads.
Among the scores of Australian players up for selection in the auction list, 28-year-old Alana King is an exciting prospect. The bowling all-rounder only made her international debut back in January 2022 during the Women’s Ashes in Adelaide for all three formats, but has already emerged as a trusted spin bowler for her team.
In the recently concluded WBBL edition, King was the second-highest wicket taker for Perth Scorchers, taking 19 wickets in 15 innings at an average of 18.21. With her success on Australian surfaces, King will surely relish the opportunity to tackle the more spin-friendly Indian pitches, pricing herself at Rs 30 lakhs.