By: Melvin Samuel
Although the Women’s Premier League auction is just around the corner, Team India is firmly focused on their T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan as they aim to repeat the U19 women’s title-winning feat, said captain Harmanpreet Kaur.
The Women’s Premier League auction is scheduled for February 13 in Mumbai, on the same day India will open their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan.
“We have a really crucial game before that [the auction], and we are just going to focus on that. The World Cup is more important than anything else. Our focus is on the ICC trophy. These things will keep coming, and as a player, you know what’s important for you and how you need to keep your focus. We are all mature enough and know what is important for us,” India captain Harmanpreet said at the T20 World Cup captains’ pressers.
However, she did underline the auction’s importance, particularly for Indian players.
“It’s a really big day for all of us because we have been waiting for years and years now. The next two or three months are very important for women’s cricket. We have seen how the WBBL and the Hundred have helped their countries improve their cricket. Hopefully, the same will happen for our country,” she added.
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine and Australian skipper Meg Lanning feel the WPL auction being held in the first week of the T20 World Cup will be an ‘awkward situation’.
Top women cricketers in the world will need to manage how to control their expectations and feelings when the Women’s T20 World Cup dates collide with the Women’s Premier League auction on February 13.
The WPL may choose 45 players, including the full Indian team competing in the ICC event that begins on Friday.
“It’s the elephant in the room. It’s a really unique experience. It’s enormous. You talk about glass ceilings and I think the WPL is going to be the next stage. I am really excited about it. As female cricketers, this is something we have never been through before. On every scale, it’s going to be awkward. That’s the word we have spoken about,” Sophie Devine, the New Zealand captain, said at the T20 World Cup captains’ pressers.
The WPL teams’ purse of INR 12 crore (US $1.46 million) is expected to provide some players with a considerable financial increase. On the other hand, it will leave some others disappointed.
“Some people are going to get picked, some won’t. And you are going to get a value attached to what you are worth which, as human beings, is not the nicest [thing], to be perfectly honest. But it’s also a job and it’s what we’ve put our names in for,” Devine said.
Australia, who will play New Zealand on February 11, is looking forward to watching the auction while also attempting to avoid becoming unduly invested in the results.
“It’s such a unique experience, I think you’d be naive to think that it’s not going to be a distraction, it’s just how you handle that. But I just think it’s such an enormous step forward for women’s cricket and I’m really looking forward to it (but) there’s a World Cup going on at the same time, so how we manage that is (going to be important), said Lanning, echoing Devine’s thoughts.