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Feature

Who's going to be the most expensive overseas buy at the WPL auction?

Chamari Athapaththu is a favourite in this race, but faces stiff competition from the likes of Annabel Sutherland and Danni Wyatt

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
07-Dec-2023
Chamari Athapaththu acknowledges the dressing room after getting to her century  •  Getty Images

Chamari Athapaththu acknowledges the dressing room after getting to her century  •  Getty Images

The second Women's Premier League (WPL) auction is set to be held in Mumbai on December 9. A total of 165 players, including 61 overseas players, will go under the hammer with a maximum of 30 slots (nine for overseas players) up for grabs. Who are the overseas players who could rake in the big bucks? Here's ESPNcricinfo's run through.
Set 2 - capped allrounders. Base price: INR 30 lakh
Despite having a base price of INR 30 lakh - that is, the lowest bracket for overseas players - Athapaththu found no takers in the inaugural WPL auction. Subsequently, she did not find a place in the Women's Hundred, the Women's Big Bash League or the Women's Caribbean Premier League either. But the Sri Lanka captain showed what teams were missing out on with a stellar show in 2023.
Athapaththu starred with two unbeaten centuries in Sri Lanka's first-ever ODI series win against New Zealand, scored an unbeaten 47-ball 80 for their first win in a T20I against New Zealand and then led the charge in their first T20I series win over England in September. Her outstanding batting form meant a late call-up from Sydney Thunder for the 2023 WBBL as an injury replacement.
She took the WBBL by storm and finished with 552 runs - the second-most in the season - at a strike rate of 127.18 and with the Player of the Series award no less. She also returned nine wickets with the ball at an economy rate of just under seven. Expect her to be the most expensive pick at the WPL auction.

Annabel Sutherland (Australia)

Set 2 - capped allrounders. Base price: INR 40 lakh
Sutherland played four matches in WPL 2023, scored only 28 runs and picked up three wickets with an economy rate of 10.99, before being released by Gujarat Giants. She turned her form around in the women's Ashes, scoring her maiden Test century in Australia's win in Nottingham before picking up 3 for 28 in a narrow T20I loss against England at The Oval.
Sutherland's 47-ball 50 batting at No. 7 proved crucial in Australia's only ODI win of the multi-format Ashes. She then flourished in the 2023 WBBL, scoring 288 runs - the most for Melbourne Stars - and picking up 23 wickets, joint third-most for the season. She also led Stars for the last three games of the season in Meg Lanning's absence.

Danni Wyatt (England)

Set 1 - capped batters. Base price: INR 30 lakh
One of only three women to have played 150 or more T20Is, Wyatt surprisingly found no takers last time with a base price of INR 50 lakh, something she was disappointed with. Her ability to hit the ball hard at the top of the order as well as take spinners down with ease is something only a few batters possess in world cricket. She topped the batting charts for Women's Hundred champions Southern Brave and Charlotte Edwards (CE) Cup winners Southern Vipers.
Wyatt struck at 141.14 and scored 295 at the Women's Hundred. Her Player-of-the-Match performance in the final - 59 off just 38 balls with nine fours and a six - only enhanced her reputation of changing gears at will and attacking spin. She also made 273 runs in the CE Cup at a strike rate of 150. Her T20I record in India is also enviable - 459 runs in 16 outings at a strike rate of 143.43 with a best of 124
Set 5 - capped spinners. Base price: INR 30 lakh
Wellington is a serial winner in 2023. She has been part of title-winning teams at the FairBreak Global Invitational Tournament, the WCPL and the WBBL. She was omitted from Australia's T20 World Cup squad earlier this year and then did not opt in for the inaugural WPL auction. But she starred in the WCPL final with a four-for for Barbados Royals.
Wellington then returned 23 wickets in the WBBL - tied third in the season - including bowling the last over of the final to help Adelaide Strikers defend their crown. She is a handy batter down the order. Strikers' head coach Luke Williams is with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the same capacity and that could also make Wellington a go-to pick.

Shabnim Ismail (South Africa)

Set 4 - capped fast bowlers. Base price: INR 40 lakh
Intense bidding saw UP Warriorz pick up Ismail for INR 1 crore at the last auction. But after just three games in the season, she finds herself back in the auction pool this year. The fiery South Africa fast bowler, who retired from internationals earlier this year, showed her wares at the Women's Hundred, the WCPL and the WBBL.
She picked up 11 wickets in the Women's Hundred, including a hat-trick in the last over that helped Welsh Fire eke out a narrow win over Birmingham Phoenix. She prevented Phoenix from scoring four off the last three balls with nine wickets in hand, one game after her three-for had skittled Oval Invincibles for 80.
Ismail also picked up 13 wickets for Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL, after a four-for for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the WCPL final.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo