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Feature

WPL 2024 FAQs - Ins and outs, and everything else you wanted to know

What's different, what's the same? Where and when will the matches be played? What's new about this season?

Ashish Pant
20-Feb-2024
Last year's finalists Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals will kick off WPL 2024 on February 23  •  Getty Images

Last year's finalists Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals will kick off WPL 2024 on February 23  •  Getty Images

The second season of the five-team Women's Premier League (WPL) kicks off on February 23, with Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, and Delhi Capitals, the runners-up from the first edition, featuring in the first game. Here's everything you need to know about the tournament.
Will it all be played in Mumbai again?
Unlike last year, when the tournament was held in its entirely across Mumbai, WPL 2024 will be played in Bengaluru and New Delhi. The M Chinnaswamy Stadium will host the first 11 games, while the second-half of the season, including the eliminator and the final, will be held at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla.
Is the format any different from last year's?
No, the same number of games (22) will be played this year too. Each of the five teams plays the other four twice. The table-toppers directly qualify for the final, while the second and third-placed teams square off in the eliminator.
After the Mumbai vs Delhi game, Royal Challengers Bangalore will open their campaign the following day against UP Warriorz, with Gujarat Giants, the fifth team, facing Mumbai on day three.
Here's a detailed look at the fixtures.
What are the timings?
All the matches will start at 7.30pm IST and, unlike last year, there are no double-headers this time.
Let's go back to the auction: how did that go? Were there any major buys?
The biggest surprise in this year's auction was the uncapped duo of Kashvee Gautam and Vrinda Dinesh pocketing bids of INR 2 crore (Giants) and INR 1.3 crore (Warriorz) respectively. Gautam, however, has been sidelined by injury and won't feature in the competition.
Australia allrounder Annabel Sutherland, who was released by Giants ahead of the auction, was the most expensive overseas pick (Capitals) at INR 2 crore, while Shabnim Ismail, released by Warriorz, was picked up at INR 1.2 crore by Mumbai. Australia's Phoebe Litchfield attracted a handsome bid of INR 1 crore from Giants. This will be 20-year-old Litchfield's maiden WPL appearance.
Kate Cross, who was working as a broadcaster last year, has gone to RCB, and Danni Wyatt (Warriorz) will also be a part of WPL 2024 after being unsold at the auction the last time. Scotland's Kathryn Bryce (Giants) is the lone Associate player in the tournament.
Did any major player miss out? Any withdrawals?
Chamari Athapaththu seemed set to miss out for a second straight season, but was picked up by Warriorz as a replacement for England's Lauren Bell, who opted out to prepare for England's tour of New Zealand (starting March 19). RCB's Heather Knight too will miss the season for the same reason; she has been replaced by South Africa allrounder Nadine de Klerk.
Among the notable exclusions are Australia bowling-allrounder Kim Garth, who was released by Giants after last season, and former West Indies allrounder Deandra Dottin. On the Indian front, there were no bids for Devika Vaidya, who was picked up for INR 1.6 crore in the inaugural season by Warriorz.
Australia fast bowler Lauren Cheatle (Giants) too has withdrawn from this year's WPL after undergoing a medical procedure for skin cancer on her neck. New Zealand veteran Lea Tahuhu has replaced her.
And, along with Gautam, spin-bowling allrounder Kanika Ahuja has had to opt out with an injury. Gautam has been replaced by uncapped allrounder Sayali Satghare, while Ahuja has been replaced by Shradda Pokharkar at RCB.
Are the captains and coaches for the teams the same as last season?
While the five captains: Harmanpreet Kaur (Mumbai), Meg Lanning (Capitals), Smriti Mandhana (RCB), Alyssa Healy (Warriorz ) and Beth Mooney (Giants) remain unchanged, there have been some movements on the coaching front.
Most notably, Giants parted ways with Rachael Haynes after just one season, bringing former Australia batter Michael Klinger on board as the head coach. Luke Williams, who won the WBBL with Adelaide Strikers, takes over from Ben Sawyer as RCB's head coach.
Which country - apart from India - has the maximum representation?
Australia has the biggest representation with 13 players, including three captains. Capitals lead the way with four Australians in their squad, while Giants, Warriorz and RCB all have three each. Mumbai are the only team to not have a single Australian player in their set-up. England have six players taking part in the tournament, while South Africa have five.
Who were the breakout stars of WPL 2023?
Mumbai's left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque and RCB allrounder Shreyanka Patil have gone on to play for India. They are considered to be products of the WPL to an extent.
Recognising the need to reward performers, the BCCI has ensured that players who were capped between the two seasons automatically received an upgraded WPL contract. Signed at base price (INR 10 lakh) at the inaugural auction, both Ishaque and Patil will be paid INR 30 lakh this season following their India debuts.

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo