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Smriti Mandhana hits it out of the park with ₹3.4 crore bid

NEW DELHI : Opener Smriti Mandhana on Monday received the highest bid of 3.4 crore for the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League auctions held in Mumbai. Mandhana, whose bidding began at a base price of 50 lakh, was finally sold to the Royal Challengers Bangalore. RCB and Delhi Capitals were the main contenders in the bidding war.

Deepti Sharma raked in 2.6 crore and will represent the team from Lucknow, owned by Capri Global Holdings Pvt. Ltd, UP Warriorz. Jemimah Rodrigues went for 2.2 crore to Delhi Capitals, which also bought under-19 captain Shafali Verma for 2 crore. Richa Ghosh was sold to RCB for 1.9 crore. The other Indian cricketers who were sold for a high bid price included Harmanpreet Kaur ( 1.8 crore) to Mumbai Indians and Renuka Singh ( 1.5 crore) to RCB. Pooja Vastrakar was sold for 1.9 crore to MI.

The five teams for this year are RCB, Gujarat Giants, Delhi Capitals, UP Warriorz, and MI.

The highest bid for an international player was by Mumbai Indians, which picked up England’s Natalie Sciver for 3.2 crore. Wicketkeeper-batter from Australia, Beth Mooney, was sold to the Gujarat Giants for 2 crore, while Ellyse Perry was sold to RCB for 1.7 crore, Tahlia McGrath went to UP Warroirz for 1.4 crore.

Out of 1,525 players who were registered for the auction, 409 made it to the final list, comprising 246 Indians and 163 overseas players. There were also eight players from associate nations. All five teams had a salary purse of 12 crore per team for this edition.

Tuhin Mishra, co-founder and managing director of Baseline Ventures, which manages players like Mandhana and under-19 skipper Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia and Richa Ghosh, said the auction created history.

“I was definitely expecting this for our girls. Smriti being auctioned at 3.4 crore has been a record. She has created history. We were expecting the auction to be done along these lines. Richa, Shafali and Yastika have all done well. All the talent will not only become household names but will also have a lot of financial security. This will also inspire a lot of girls at a mass level to join grassroots cricket,” Mishra said.

Last month, Reliance Industries-owned Viacom18 picked up the media rights for the Women’s Premier League (WPL) for 951 crore for five years. The broadcaster is going to pay a per-match value of 7.09 crore during 2023-27. A lot of money is also riding on the teams.

In its team auction, which was held last month, a record 4,669.99 crore was paid by companies to own the five franchises for the league.

The companies include Adani Group, Reliance, Diageo India, a joint venture between JSW and GMR, and Indian NBFC company Capri Global.

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