The T20 Women’s Premier League (WPL) player auction has made headlines as top women cricketers have become overnight millionaires and given hope to aspiring cricketers. India’s left-handed opener, Smriti Mandhana, attracted the highest winning bid of INR 3.4 crore, which was higher than the amount paid for elite men’s cricketers like Ajinkya Rahane, Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, England’s Adil Rashid, and Australia’s Adam Zampa in the IPL. Mandhana was thrilled about the impact this has on women’s cricket, stating that “this is history” and “an exciting time ahead”.
India’s Captain Harmanpreet Kaur was sold for INR 1.8 crore, while international stars such as Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner (INR 3.2 crore), Ellyse Perry (INR 1.7 crore), Beth Mooney (INR 2 crore), and Meg Lanning (INR 1.1 crore), as well as England’s Natalie Sciver-Brunt (INR 3.2 crore) also went for high amounts. Young talent such as India’s U-19 World Cup Captain Shafali Verma (INR 2 crore), Jemimah Rodrigues (INR 2.2 crore), and Richa Ghosh (INR 1.9 crore) also had a windfall.
For some of these cricketers, the auction is a reward for the struggles they faced to reach this level. Richa’s father had to take out a loan to buy her a bat before her U-19 trials, and Pooja Vastrakar’s father plans to put the INR 1.9 crore she earned into a fixed deposit account. Despite India’s talent in women’s cricket, it was always thought to be in need of a platform like the WPL to broaden the talent base and establish the country as a powerhouse. The recent U-19 World Cup title and the WPL’s financial windfall are expected to give women’s cricket a boost.
While there are domestic leagues in other countries such as the Big Bash League in Australia and The Hundred in England, a full-fledged women’s league in India is considered a game-changer. The five WPL franchises were sold for a total of INR 466.9 crore and the television rights were sold for INR 951 crore in a five-year deal, making it one of the largest broadcast deals for women’s sports, second only to America’s basketball and soccer leagues for women.
Most of the entities involved in the WPL own corresponding IPL teams and bring vital technical, managerial, and financial know-how to the women’s game. The WPL is expected to have the same status as the IPL in women’s cricket, providing the same level of exposure and financial benefits. The IPL has been running for the past 15 years and is considered the most high-profile and lucrative domestic league in the world, creating a window in the international calendar.
The WPL has created a new level of excitement in women’s cricket, providing a platform for the sport to grow and prosper. This is a momentous occasion for women’s cricket and a crucial step towards equality and inclusivity in the sport. The success of the WPL is expected to inspire future generations of women cricketers and provide them with the same opportunities and recognition as their male counterparts.
In conclusion, the T20 Women’s Premier League player auction has made a significant impact on women’s cricket, not just in India but around the world. It provides a platform for women’s cricket to grow and flourish, inspiring future generations of cricketers to pursue their dreams