India Women star cricketer Smriti Mandhana got the highest bid so far in the Women's Premier League auction in Mumbai today, with Royal Challengers Bangalore picking her up for Rs 3.4 crore.
With a base price of Rs 50 lakh, Mandhana was always expected to get into the crore club both because of her flamboyant batting and her leadership skills. Mumbai Indians and RCB were engaged in an intense bidding war, but the latter outbid the MI in the end.
The other big buy was Ashleigh Gardner, who was sold to Gujarat Giants for Rs 3.2 crore. Both Mumbai and UP Warriorz tried to sign up the Australian spin bowling all-rounder, who had a base price of Rs 50 lakh, but were outbid by Gujarat finally.
India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur went to Mumbai Indians for Rs 1.8 crore, while star Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry was bought by the RCB for Rs 1.7 crore. New Zealand batting all-rounder Sophie Devine, too, was bought by the RCB for Rs 50 lakh.
England all-rounder Sophie Ecclestone was brought by UP for Rs 1.8 crore.
In the first marquee set, only Hayley Matthews of West Indies went unsold.
The five teams - Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, RCB, Gujarat Giants and UP Warriorz - will be bidding for 90 players in a list of 409.
With a salary purse of Rs 12 crore per team for the first year and a squad size of 18 including six overseas players, at least 20 to 25 of the 60 Indian women set to be picked will command good auction price.
The base prices are set in five brackets with the least being Rs 10 lakh and the highest Rs 50 lakh. The other brackets are Rs 20, 30 and 40 lakh, respectively.
The WPL is set to be played in Mumbai from March 4 to 26.
Key figures of auction
Names: DC, MI, RCB, Gujarat Giants, UP Warriorz
Minimum Salary Mandatory: Rs 9 crore
Maximum Salary purse/team: Rs 12 crore
Minimum Squad Strength Mandatory: 15
Maximum Squad Strength: 18
Maximum India players in squad: 12
Maximum Overseas players/squad: 6
Total number of players available: 409
Indian players for auction: 246
Foreign players from Full members: 155
Players from Associate Nations: 8
Name of auctioneer: Malika Sagar
NOTE: A team can field five foreign players in playing XI if the fifth player is from Associate Nation.
(With PTI inputs)