Tuesday, February 14, 2023

WPL Auction: RCB captain Smriti Mandhana likely

WPL Auction: Smriti Mandhana likely to captain RCB


BENGALURU: Royal Challengers Bangalore began working on their blueprint months before the Women's Premier League (WPL) was officially announced in January of this year. The current team now includes talent scouts, who begin traveling across the country in October 2022 to participate in BCCI domestic tournaments and leagues. The ensemble they put together on Monday for the inaugural edition reflected the planning and hard work.

The think-tank led by RCB director of cricket operations Mike Hesson was in T20 mode when they bought India vice-captain and top-order bat Smriti Mandhana at an auction in Mumbai for Rs. 3.4 crore.

Smriti is the team's likely choice for skipper due to her versatility in batting and leadership experience, as Hesson acknowledged.

"Smriti has a lot of experience as a captain. It is highly likely (that she will captain the team) because she is well-versed in the conditions. The New Zealander stated, "We have highly experienced international players, and like any leadership group, you need senior players around to contribute."

The franchise in Bengaluru has found a good balance between local talent and international experience. First, they have placed international Indian players in important positions. Richa Ghosh (Rs 1.9 crore), a member of the U-19 T20 World Cup winning team, is in the middle order. Renuka Singh (Rs 1.5 crore) has the potential to be the team's frontline pacer. Smriti holds together the top order.

Among international players, Australian Ellyse Perry, one of the best all-rounders of this generation, is probably RCB's best buy. They also got two captains of national teams at a bargain price: New Zealand captain Sophie Devine and England captain Heather Knight came in at Rs 40 lakh and Rs 50 lakh, respectively. The scouts, which include VR Vanitha, a former top-order batter for Karnataka, have chosen players from all over the country.

Asha Shobana is a wrist spinner from Kerala, Komal Zanzad is a left-arm pacer for Vidarbha, Leggie Poonam Khemnar is from Nagaland, and Kanika Ahuja is from Punjab.

Shreyanka Patil, an all-rounder from Karnataka, and Sahana Pawar, a left-arm spinner, are the two Karnataka players in RCB's lineup. Sahana participated in the accelerated bidding and was the last player to make the WPL cut, whereas Shreyanka came up midway through the process.

Monica Patel, a left-arm pacer from Karnataka, was the third state athlete selected at the auction. She paid Rs 30 lakh to Gujarat Giants. However, veteran campaigner and state team captain Veda Krishnamurthy was not purchased on Monday.

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