WPL 2023: Harmanpreet, Smriti, Deepti, Perry, Devine amongst Top Five Captaincy Candidates
WPL Player Auction 2023: Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Ellyse Perry and Sophie Devine amongst the Top Five Captaincy Candidates.
The inaugural auction for the Women’s Premier League (WPL) is going to be held on February 13 in Mumbai, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed recently. The Board had also said that a total of 409 players – 246 Indian and 163 overseas nationals – made the final list from the 1500+ registrations received for the event.
In the meantime, franchises have been busy building their coaching and support staff teams. Mumbai have roped in former India pacer Jhulan Goswami as bowling coach and mentor. Delhi have roped in former county wicketkeeper batter Jonathan Batty as head coach, while former India cricketer Hemlata Kala and former Australia cricketer Lisa Keightley have been named assistant coaches.
One important step for the franchises, after zeroing down on the 18-member squads and the support staff, would be to select a capable captain. Every team would like to select a captain who can be retained for at least three to four years before switching to another one. Here is the list of top captaincy candidates who could be roped in by the teams.
Harmanpreet Kaur is the current captain of India Women's team in all formats. She has been one of the top-performing players in India across formats and around the world. The 33-year-old player has a rich experience of playing 145 T20I matches in which she has scored 2919 runs at an average of 28.33, including a century and 9 half-centuries. In 2019 during a series against South Africa, she became the first ever player for India, male or female, to represent the country in 100 T20Is. Apart from batting, she could be useful as a right-arm off-spinner and has 32 wickets in the format at an economy rate of 6.27.
Kaur was first made captain of India women's cricket team before the final match of the Women's T20 Asia Cup in 2012 when captain Mithali Raj and vice-captain Jhulan Goswami were ruled out of the tournament because of injuries. In her debut match as captain, she led India to a win against Pakistan by a margin of 81 runs to win the Asia Cup. Her biggest achievement as captain came in September 2022, when India Women won their first series against England in England after 23 years.
In 2016, Kaur became the first Indian cricketer - male or female - to sign a contract in Big Bash League (BBL) with Sydney Thunder in Australia. And then in 2017, she signed a contract with Surrey Stars in ECB's Kia Super League.
Harmanpreet’s batting record in T20Is:
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The left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana has been an integral part of the India Women’s cricket team since she made her international debut for India against Bangladesh in 2013 in the T20I and ODI format as a 16-year-old under Harmanpreet Kaur’s captaincy. The southpaw is now vice-captain of India across formats.
Mandhana is a versatile player who can play in any situation from aggressor to passive long innings. She has scored more than 5,000 runs across formats in India and around the world. In the 20-over format, the southpaw has played 111 matches and scored 2651 runs at a decent average of 27.28 with a strike rate of 123.58, which is just about good for an opening batter. She was the top run-getter in 2022 having scored 594 runs from 21 innings at a strike rate of 133.48.
She became the first-ever India woman cricketer to score a one-day double-century in 2013. She is one the finest batters in the world and is capable of scoring consistently in all formats. The southpaw has been named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year twice in 2018 and 2021.
In September 2016, Mandhana signed a one-year deal with Brisbane Heat for the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL). Along with Harmanpreet Kaur she thus became one of the first two Indians to sign a contract with the Australian league. Currently, she is playing for Sydney Thunder.
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Deepti Sharma is an all-rounder who can do wonders with both bat and ball. Last year, she was the top-wicket taker for India in T20Is with 29 wickets in 25 matches. Her batting skills have also been top-notch so far with 898 runs from 62 T20Is at a strike rate of 106.39.
Deepti plays in different league matches in Australia and England. In 2019, she signed up to play for the Western Storm in the Kia Super League. In 2021, she played for London Spirit in the inaugural season of The Hundred and plays for Sydney Thunder in Women’s Big Bash League.