The Women's Premier League auction on 13 February in Mumbai will be a unique experience for the cricketers; 163 overseas players will go under the hammer along with 246 Indians.
The inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League, starting six days after the completion of the T20 World Cup as an opening act to the glamorous Indian Premier League, will be a game-changer. The tournament will allow franchises to field five overseas players, one being from the Associate Nation.
Besides the Indian cricketers, the list includes players from Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ireland and Zimbabwe. Eight Associate players from the UAE, Hong Kong, Thailand, Netherlands and the USA are also in the fray. A maximum of 30 overseas slots are available for the five teams — Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Gujarat and Lucknow.
Thirteen overseas players, including Ellyse Perry (Australia), Sophie Ecclestone (England), Sophie Devine (New Zealand) and Deandra Dottin (West Indies), are in the Rs 50 lakh base price bracket.
Here is a list of 10 cricketers who can make an impact with their skill sets in the WPL.
Ashleigh Gardner (Australia; Rs 50 lakh base price)
The Australian all-rounder strikes at 133.91, which is better than most of her contemporaries. New Zealander Suzie Bates, who has the most runs in T20I cricket, has a strike rate of 109.32.
Last December, the Aussies beat India 4-1 in the five-match T20I series, and Gardner was one of the tormentors-in-chief at the Brabourne Stadium, which will host the WPL games. She smashed an unbeaten 66 off 32 balls with 11 fours and a six in the final fixture. Later, she also returned figures of 2/20 with her off-break bowling that included the wicket of Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh.
Sophie Ecclestone (England; Rs 50 lakh base price)
Top-ranked T20I bowler Ecclestone is a seasoned campaigner with an economy of 5.90. The slow left-arm orthodox spinner finished with four wickets in three games in the Women's T20 Challenge last year and can operate at full throttle on the spin-friendly Indian pitches.
A decent striker of the ball, Ecclestone — who was also the runners-up with Sydney Sixers at the Big Bash League — can contribute in the lower order.
Hayley Matthews (West Indies; Rs 40 lakh base price)
West Indies skipper Matthews is one of the utility players in the mix. The opening batter has the power to send world-class bowlers on a leather hunt, and with her off-spin bowling, she knows how to keep the opposing batters on a tight leash.
Matthews has been a star of Caribbean T20 cricket. At 18, she led West Indies to the T20 World Cup title by scoring 66 off 45 balls in the final against Australia.
Suzie Bates (New Zealand; Rs 30 lakh base price)
New Zealand veteran Bates has the most runs in T20I cricket among the women. The 35-year-old batter, who made her debut in 2007, has 3,683 runs under her belt, including a century and 23 fifties.
Bates averages 35.00 in Asia, which augurs well for the franchise that eventually buys her services. She was in splendid form at the Women's Super Smash in Dunedin last month, scoring a 56-ball 75 and 59-ball 76.
Tahlia McGrath (Australia; Rs 40 lakh base price)
McGrath is a power-hitter at No. 3 who can accelerate from any situation in the game. Though she doesn't bowl regularly, the right-arm medium pace offers her an edge as she can swing the ball.
McGrath was in red-hot form during the tour of India in December, scoring an unbeaten 70 and a 40 at DY Patil Stadium, which will host a few games in the WPL.
Shabnim Ismail (South Africa; Rs 40 lakh base price)
Ismail will be hoping to dictate terms in the WPL auction as she is one of the most experienced fast bowlers in the pool. The right-arm pacer from South Africa has 115 T20I wickets in 107 outings. She has the Big Bash and The Hundred experience too.
In India, Ismail has 14 wickets in 11 games at an economy of 6.18.
Heather Knight (England; Rs 40 lakh base price)
England captain Knight has not been in the best form recently, but one can never write her off. The middle-order batter has 1,474 T20I runs, including a hundred and four fifties.
Knight was at her best in 2020 when she smashed 486 runs in 13 games at an average of 40.50 and strike rate of 135.75.
Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka; Rs 30 lakh base price)
Batting all-rounder Athapaththu has more than 100 T20I games under her belt and will be one of the frontline players in the WPL. Coming from the neighbouring country, Sri Lanka, the left-handed batter will not find it too hard to play her shots on the Indian wickets.
She was the leading run-scorer in the Women's T20 Challenge in 2020 with 117 runs, including a best performance of 67, in three games representing the Supernovas.
Salma Khatun (Bangladesh; Rs 40 lakh base price)
Bangladesh off-spinner Khatun is an experienced off-spinner who can rule the roost in the WPL. The 32-year-old has 84 T20I wickets in 91 outings at an economy of 4.83 and best figures of 4/6. She has seven wickets in as many games in India with best figures of 3/12.
With four wickets in three games, Khatun was one of the top performers in the Women's T20 Challenge in 2020. Last year she picked up three wickets in two outings.
Jahanara Alam (Bangladesh; Rs 30 lakh base price)
Alam can be the X-factor in any team because of her on-ground temperament and personality. A medium pacer with 57 wickets in 75 T20Is for Bangladesh, Alam can run through any batting order with her vicious swing. She can make the ball talk and chip in with a breakthrough when the team may need it.
Alam has represented Velocity in the Women's T20 Challenge, picking two wickets in as many games. She has 27 T20I scalps in 28 games when playing away from home.