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.
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.