Mumbai: Punjab pacer Kashvee Gautam fetched a winning bid of Rs 2 crore from Gujarat Giants to become the costliest uncapped India player while the Australians were the most sought-after lot among the overseas players at the WPL auction here on Saturday.
The 20-year-old's base price was Rs 10 lakh as both Gujarat Giants and UP Warriorz bid for Kashvee, before the former managed to secure her services for the second edition of WPL.
In another big payday for an uncapped Indian cricketer, UP Warriorz bid Rs 1.3 crore for 22-year-old Karnataka batter Vrinda Dinesh. Both Vrinda and Kashvee had recently featured for India A in their three-match series against England A.
In the early stages of the auction, Australian cricketers attracted the highest bids with all-rounder Annabel Sutherland being sold to Delhi Capitals for Rs 2 crore and batter Phoebe Litchfield to Gujarat Giants for Rs 1 crore.
The 22-year-old Sutherland was released by Gujarat Giants after the inaugural edition of WPL held in March this year. She attracted bids from defending champions Mumbai Indians but they pulled out, with the player eventually going to the Capitals.
We have got a balanced squad anyway. If we were to improve one area, it would be our starting eleven, subject to the playing conditions, said Delhi Capitals' head coach Jonathan Batty.
Annabel is a multi-skilled player. She could bat anywhere between No 3-7. She bowls in all phases of the match and is a stand-out all-rounder. For us, she was going to be our No.1 pick from the start he added.
Gujarat Giants went for the left-handed 20-year-old Litchfield who has made her debut across formats for Australia.
South Africa fast bowler Shabnim Ismail was added to the Mumbai Indians squad for Rs 1.20 crore, three times her base price.
Shabnim is the fastest bowler currently in women's cricket. She has vast amounts of experience, and we wanted an out-and-out pacer, said Mumbai Indians' mentor and bowling coach Jhulan Goswami.
UP Warriorz also added England batter Dani Wyatt to their roster at a base price of Rs 30 lakh. This will be the first appearance in WPL for the 32-year-old who recently completed 150 T20s for her country.
Royal Challengers Bangalore went for Australia's Georgia Wareham, paying Rs 40 lakh for the deal. Wareham had played in the last edition for Gujarat Giants.
RCB also bought England's Kate Cross for Rs 30 lakh and the 37-year-old Indian spinner Ekta Bisht for Rs 60 lakh, two times her base price.
Big names go unsold
With most of the frontline Indian players settled across the five-team league, the auction was largely about how the big names from overseas would do and there were indeed some big omissions as far as the franchise's preference was concerned.
Sri Lanka's Chamari Athapaththu, the Player of the Tournament in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), found no takers in two separate rounds of auction.
The same was the fate of West Indies' Deandra Dottin, who went unsold as she had a tumultuous experience of WPL in the last edition.
Dottin was one of the only two players with a base price of Rs 50 lakh. Australian-Irish player Kim Garth, who had replaced the West Indies player at the Giants' squad last year, too found no takers.
England wicketkeeper-batter Amy Jones (base price Rs 40 lakh), Tammy Beaumont, Bess Heath, Australia's Alana King and New Zealand's Lea Tahuhu were among those who also did not spark any interest among the five teams.
Among the capped Indian players who did not find any takers were Priya Punia, Devika Vaidya, Punam Raut and Sushma Verma.
Which team bought who?
Delhi Capitals added three new players in Sutherland, Aparna Mondal and Ashwani Kumari.
Mumbai Indians snapped up S Sajana, Amandeep Kaur, Fatima Jaffer, Keerthana Balakrishnan along with South Africa's Ismail.
Gujarat Giants came into the auction looking for 10 more new players and they filled up these spots with Kashvee, Litchfield, Meghna Singh, Lauren Cheatle, Veda Krishnamurthy, Priya Mishra, Trisha Poojitha, Kathryn Bryce, Mannat Kashyap and Tarannum Pathan.
Apart from Wareham, Bisht and Cross, RCB also added Sabbhinani Meghana, Simran Bahadur, Sophie Molineux and Shubha Satheesh.
Apart from splurging on Vrinda, UP Warriorz also added Wyatt, Gouher Sultana, Poonam Khemnar and Saima Thakor.