Icon players on Women’s IPL menu before player auction
Capped players will be given the option to pick a base price of ₹50 lakh, 40 lakh or 30 lakh in the auction to be held in February
Fifteen years since the cricket world was left amazed by the big-money, drama and unpredictability of player auctions for the first time in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the gavel will be out to pick cricketers in an auction ahead of the inaugural Women’s IPL (WIPL).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in its communication to state units offered base price options for players. The capped players can pick one of ₹50 lakh, 40 lakh or 30 lakh as base price from which bidding can begin. Those who haven’t played for India can pick a base price of ₹20 lakh or 10 lakh.
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While the auction guidelines are for Indian players, the same base salary options are likely to be given to overseas players. A maximum of six overseas players will be allowed in an 18-member squad. It is expected to be a five-team league.
Like in the case of IPL, the board is considering naming five icon players, one each for the five franchises, before the auction. “It’s important to have a marquee player for each team around which marketing activities can be centered, and for that player to play a lead role in the team,” a BCCI official said. “This is still at a discussion stage and modalities are being worked out.” If icon players are identified, they will be paid handsomely.
Before the first IPL in 2008, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh were chosen as icon players. MS Dhoni wasn’t and was picked up for big money by Chennai Super Kings.
In the Indian women’s cricket set up, there are no obvious big names other than skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. Deepti Sharma is rising in stature and it remains to be seen if Mithali Raj, who has retired as an India player, decides to play in the first season.
It is because of the absence of star culture that the stakeholders are keeping expectations low as far the financial scale the tournament goes. The media rights tenders will be opened on January 16. Based on the strength of the winning bid, interested franchises will express interest in owning teams. They have until January 21 to purchase the franchise ownership bid document. Both those bids will be via a closed tender.
Women players have been given until January 26 to register for the auction, which will be held next month. The WIPL is likely to feature 22 matches and be played between March 6-26. Maharashtra has been shortlisted as a possible destination for the league.