Sophie Devine leads 19 Kiwi entries for inaugural WPL auction

Wed, Feb 8
Sophie Devine.

New Zealand could have a strong showing in the inaugural Women's Premier League T20 tournament in India next month, with 19 Kiwi cricketers putting their names in for next week's auction.

After the five franchises were auctioned off last month for a record sum of 46.7 billion rupees [NZ$884 million], attention now turns to the players that will fill their squads for when the event launches on March 4.

Tournament organisers announced this morning 409 players have made the final cut to go under the hammer after 1525 cricketers registered for the event.

Of the 409 players, 246 are Indians and 163 are overseas players of which 19 are New Zealanders.

White Ferns captain Sophie Devine leads the way for the Kiwi contingent as one of only 24 players with their reserve price set at 50 lakh [NZ$96,000] but all-rounder Melie Kerr sits in the bracket just underneath at 40 lakh [NZ$70,000].

The other 17 New Zealanders, including Suzie Bates, Lea Tahuhu and Jess Kerr, are listed at 30 lakh [NZ$57,000].

Of note, Amy Satterthwaite - who retired from international cricket last year - has not put her name forward and seamer Hannah Rowe, who is in South Africa for the T20 World Cup which starts this weekend, is also absent.

Bates said following the White Ferns' win yesterday against the West Indies in a World Cup warm-up match that there had been "some talk" between players from different nations about the tournament to find out who had put their names forward and who hadn't.

Suzie Bates scored a breathtaking unbeaten 91 against South Africa.

"We've talked about it as a group, just making sure that when it does happen we'll acknowledge that," Bates said.

"There will be some congratulations and perhaps commiserations but then we'll be moving on and focusing on this World Cup.

"It's hard - it's so exciting and everyone want's to be a part of it. It's probably a little bit of a shame it coincides with the World Cup but we've just got to not see it as a distraction and I think in this group, we'll be pretty good at dealing with that."

The auction is taking place on February 13 in Mumbai and will be a cutthroat process for international players with only 30 slots of the maximum 90 allowed to be used on overseas cricketers.

Each team will have a purse of 120 million rupees [NZ$2.3 million] to spend on their squads for the upcoming season - money former Black Caps coach Mike Hesson, who is now the director for cricket operations at Royal Challengers Bangalore who will be part of the WPL, told 1News last month will do wonders for all involved.

"It's a good chance to earn a significant amount of money and I'm sure there's plenty of players who have put their name in for it," Hesson said.

"I think a number of countries now are genuinely investing in the women's game and this is just another expansion of that.

"This will be the biggest and it will only get bigger."

The inaugural season of the WPL will be played from March 4 to 26, with all 22 matches held in Mumbai.

New Zealanders in the WPL auction

50 lakh (NZ$96,000): Sophie Devine

40 lakh (NZ$77,000): Melie Kerr

30 lakh (NZ$57,000): Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Lea Tahuhu, Fran Jonas, Leigh Kasperek, Sam Barriball, Rebecca Burns, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Felicity Leydon-Davis, Thamsyn Newton, Kate Ebrahim, Nensi Patel, Jess Watkin, Hayley Jensen, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold


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