WPL Auction 2024 – Uncapped Kashvee Gautam and Vrinda Dinesh generate the most interest – LSB

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Indian duo Kashvee Gautam and Vrinda Dinesh took top honors at the WPL auction in Mumbai, attracting bids of INR 2 crore (Gujarat Giants) and INR 1.3 crore (UP Warriorz) respectively.
Australian all-rounder Annabel Sutherland was the most expensive overseas player, attracting the joint highest bid in the auction of INR 2 crore, with Delhi Capitals having exhausted 88.8% of their remaining purse of INR 2.25 crore on her.
The biggest surprise was the loss of Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapathu for the second time in a row. The WBBL’s Player of the Year, the second-highest-ranking player in the tournament, also failed to return to the accelerated rounds of the auction, where teams nominated players from the initial unsold player list.
Some other important exceptions were Deandra Dottin, former West Indies captain, and Australia all-rounder Kim Garth, who were among only three players in the highest price bracket (INR 50 lakh). Scotland’s Katherine Price was the only utility player to be picked up in the auction by the Giants with her base price of INR 10 lakh.
Ekta Bisht at INR 60 lakh attracted the highest bid (Royal Challengers Bangalore) among India’s capped players, while Veda Krishnamurthy (Giants) and S Meghana (RCB) went for base prices (INR 30 lakh) in the latest accelerated round of auctions after finding… There are no early takers. Among the Indian teams’ biggest misses was Devika Vaidya, the all-rounder, who was expected to be at the top of the teams’ wish list. She was released by Warriorz, who offered her INR 1.6 crore ahead of the inaugural season.

In what was an acrimonious auction as teams mostly sought to plug holes, the Giants came away with the biggest purse after unloading more than half their squad. Having released four seam bowlers – Sutherland, Garth, Mansi Joshi and Monica Patel – they did their best to secure a lanky 20-year-old seam bowler, Gautam, who plays for Chandigarh.

The Giants and RCB began an intense tussle before Warriorz pounced at a price tag of INR 75 lakh. They pursued the offer until the giants finally out-bid them to sign Gautam for a record price of INR 2 Crores. For perspective, Gautam’s bid was higher than the bid attracted by Harmanpreet Kaur (INR 1.8 crore) in the inaugural auction in February.

It was no surprise that Kashvee was in high demand, given that skilled bowlers are rare. Gautam is a successful bowler who has worked on improving her pace, based on feedback given to her after the inaugural auction in which she was unsold.

In the Women’s Senior T20 Cup last month, she took 12 wickets in seven matches at an economy rate of 4.14. Since then, she also went on to play for India A in the recently concluded home series against England A. In June, she was part of India’s victorious Under-23 team at the ACC Emerging Championship in Hong Kong.

Like Kashvee, Vrinda has been on the radar of selectors and scouts alike. In August, Vrinda tried out all five franchises. RCB, the franchise from their home state, raised the paddle first before the Giants entered the fray to quickly raise the bids. But it was Warriorz, who entered the bidding at INR 65 lakh, who stayed the course to finally be signed for INR 1.3 crore.

A prolific goalscorer over the past two seasons, Vrinda has won plaudits for her ability to combine consistency with potent attacking power. At 22 years old, she has already broken through the ranks of the India A side, having recently been part of the squad that played three home matches against England A.

Earlier this year, she played a key role in Karnataka’s run to the final of the senior women’s one-day competition. She finished fifth in the tournament, behind Jasya Akter and Priya Punia, with 477 runs in 11 rounds at 47.70. This included 81 in the semi-final against Rajasthan.

Australian Phoebe Litchfield was the first player to be floated and was signed by the Giants for INR 1 Crore. The left-hander, who debuted as a social media sensation as a 16-year-old in 2019, has fulfilled a dream of late, finishing as the WBBL’s third-highest performer. She began her international career in India last year, during the T20I series, and progressed quickly.
She kept Grace Harris out of the Australia side earlier this season and was used in the middle order, hitting a record-equalling 18-ball fifty against the West Indies. Earlier this year, she was handed Test and ODI caps.
Also among those to jump on the WPL bandwagon after finding no takers for the inaugural season were English duo Danny White (Warriorz) and Kate Cross (RCB). South Africa fast Shabnim Ismail went to Mumbai Indians for INR 1.2 crore.

The second WPL season is scheduled to be played in February 2024. The first season was played at three venues in Mumbai due to logistical considerations. BCCI is yet to decide on the venues for the second edition, although Mumbai and Bengaluru are expected to compete to host the matches.

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