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How Commercial Cash Flow Will Do Good For Women Cricketers In Country



As many as 10 Indian cricketers have got crore-plus deals during the Women’s Premier League auction in Mumbai.

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Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma. (Image: Twitter)

New Delhi: The last few days have all been about women’s cricket in general, particularly Indians. With the Women’s Premier League (WPL) player auction throwing up some fancy numbers for the players, social media reactions from many involved in the whole affair reflected the sheer delight that they felt, and also vindicated the rise in status of women’s cricket, across the globe.

This auction, in the backdrop of the Women’s T20 World Cup currently underway in South Africa, was quite a celebration of all those who have for years fought against odds and discrimination, and now can see their efforts bear real fruit.

As for the Indian players, the good news began a day before the auction, with a seven-wicket win over Pakistan.
Nothing gets bigger than this in international cricket, and the match also lived up to the billing and hype, with the Pakistan batters putting up their biggest challenge in the shape of the highest score by them against India in a T20 International.

That the Indian women reached the target losing just three wickets was a great achievement. More so because, India’s batting superstar Smriti Mandhana was out of action.

But Jemimah Rodrigues, out of sorts in the recent past, came good right when it mattered the most, and young Richa Ghosh did her cause no harm at all with a fine cameo that decided the issue in India’s favour.

It could well be that these performances by Jemimah and Richa had a direct bearing on their final price tags at the WPL auction that concluded on Monday in Mumbai.

Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma largely were bought on reputation with the former getting the highest pay packet of Rs. 3.4 crore from Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). But Jemimah’s price of Rs. 2.2 crore (Delhi Capitals) surely had to do with her last-match stats, as did Richa’s Rs 1.9 crore, also from RCB.

Equally, Harmanpreet Kaur’s last-match show may have had to do with her going for Rs 1.8 crore to Mumbai Indians, way less than juniors like Deepti Sharma (Rs 2.6 crore to UP Warriorz) or below even MI teammate Pooja Vastrakar (Rs 1.9 crore).

But such are the vagaries of franchise cricket. Reputation plays a big role, but not always a positive one. Take a look at the case of Titas Sadhu. The Under-19 World Cup-winning medium-pacer went to Delhi Capitals for Rs 25 lakh. One can rest assured that had this auction happened in a different year, with no World Cup win, we’d never ever have heard of Titas.

Renuka Singh also added to RCB’s formidable line-up and she has been right up there as India’s opening bowler. To see India’s seam-bowlers – Renuka, Pooja and even Titas – making the grade says a lot about how they have developed.

It was quite a revelation, the WPL player auction, of how things have changed. It will be great to see the women cricketers in franchise action in India. And not a moment too soon.

Published Date: February 14, 2023 10:21 AM IST

Updated Date: February 14, 2023 10:36 AM IST

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