India’s star opener, Smriti Mandhana, has become the most expensive player at the ongoing player auctions for the Women’s Premier League. The 26-year-old batsmen broke the bank early being bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for ₹3.4 crore.  

However, Indian skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur, who was another coveted player was sold to Mumbai Indians for ₹1.8 crore. 

30-year-old English all-rounder, Nat Sciver, is the second most expensive buy so far, signed by Mumbai Indians for ₹3.2 crore. 

Indian all-rounder Deepti Sharma became the third most expensive player and the marquee for UP Warriorz, which scooped her in the at ₹2.6 crore. 

Impressive bids

Six women crossed the ₹2-crore mark in the historic auction for the inaugural edition of the Women Premier League. Besides the aforementioned names, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma were bought by Delhi Capitals for ₹2.2 crore and ₹2 crore, respectively. 

The highest bid for WPL still does not compare to the highest bid for the 2008 player auction inaugural edition of IPL – won by Mahendra Sigh Dhoni at ₹6 crore. Sam Curran bagged the highest bid for IPL 2023 at ₹18.5 crore. 

However, Santosh N, Partner at Adelphi said, “These are impressive bids for women players. Higher than the bids fetched by players for men’s IPL in some cases. Since this is just the inaugural edition of the women’s league, the bids will only increase exponentially in the forthcoming auctions. BCCI did the right thing in enforcing pay parity between men and women, effects of this are being seen in the WPL auction as well.”

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Each team had a maximum purse of ₹12 crore to start off with and teams have already broken the banks in some way. 

The remaining purse for the teams is as follows:

  • Delhi Capitals: ₹6.7 crore
  • Gujarat Giants: ₹6.2 crore
  • Mumbai Indians: ₹6 crore,
  • Royal Challengers Bangalore: ₹4.9 crore
  • UP Warriorz: ₹5.2 crore

Experts predict that Mandhana will likely remain the most expensive buy for the auction. 

As the WPL auction made some of the leading women cricketers into millionaires, social media was flooded with heartfelt reactions from players and fans alike. 

448 players are up for auction at the inaugural WPL auction in Mumbai, but only between 75 and 90 players will secure spots. The five franchises can buy a minimum of 15, and a maximum of 18 players. At the time of filing the story, out of a total auction purse of ₹60 crore – ₹59.5 crore had been utilised. 87 players have been sold, of which 30 players are from overseas. 

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