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Feature

WPL player auction: Sadhu, Sehrawat and other uncapped Indians who could get lucky

There are 60 spots for Indians at the auction, and the franchises will be on the lookout for useful players beyond the well-known names

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
11-Feb-2023
Shweta Sehrawat and Titas Sadhu played key roles in India winning the U-19 World Cup  •  ICC/Getty Images

Shweta Sehrawat and Titas Sadhu played key roles in India winning the U-19 World Cup  •  ICC/Getty Images

The inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL) players' auction is upon us. A total of 409 players are in the shortlist to go under the hammer to fill the 90 possible slots. Of those, 60 can be Indians. Here, we look at six uncapped Indian players who could have a big pay day.

Shradda Pokharkar (Maharashtra)

Set 20 - uncapped fast bowlers. Base price: INR 10 lakh
A left-arm Indian fast bowler whose calling card is consistency could be a steal at such a low base price. Playing for Maharashtra, Pokharkar has picked up 14 wickets in T20s and nine wickets in the 50-over matches in the ongoing domestic season. Her economy rate in T20s in the season was 5.68, and given her tall frame, she could be a handful on true surfaces at Brabourne Stadium and DY Patil Stadium in the WPL. She is so good that she got a call-up as a net bowler with the senior team during the home series against Australia last year.

Titas Sadhu (Bengal)

Set 9 - emerging players. Base price: INR 10 lakh
She is only 18 but has been one of the fast bowlers to watch in the Indian circuit for a couple of years now. Sadhu made her one-day debut for Bengal in the 2020-21 season and then played T20s for them in 2021-22 and 2022-23. She was India's spearhead in their successful Under-19 World Cup campaign and is known for giving her team early control with the ball. Sadhu picked up six wickets in the competition and was India's second-most economical bowler with 4.27. What's more, she is a handy bat.

Jasia Akhter (Rajasthan)

Set 17 - uncapped batters. Base price: INR 20 lakh
Talk about making a big noise at the perfect time. Akhter scored 273 runs, the second-most, in the Senior Women's T20 Trophy at a strike rate of 138.57, the best among those with over 150 runs in the competition. That got her into the Central Zone side for the Senior Women's Inter-Zonal T20s, where she scored 202 runs - the third most - at a strike rate of 121.68, the best among the top five. She was then selected in the four-team Senior Women's T20 Challenger Trophy, where her 114 runs came at a strike rate of 132.55. Akhter, the 34-year-old top-order batter, was also the leading run-getter in the Senior Women's One Day Trophy with 501 runs at a strike rate of 112.58, captaining Rajasthan to a semi-final finish.

Shreyanka Patil (Karnataka)

Set 19 - uncapped allrounders. Base price: INR 10 lakh
Patil is an offspinner, who has deceived many a batter with her flight, dip and turn to rise up the ranks in Karnataka. Her seven wickets in the Senior Women's T20 Trophy came at a strike rate of 15.71. Playing for South Zone after that, she picked up eight wickets in the zonals, which were the joint third-most. Her haul of 20 wickets in Karnataka's runners-up finish in the Senior Women's One Day Trophy was the joint second-highest. Patil was also at the exhibition games against the Zimbabwe women's side in July last year and had the opponents in a fix with her tricks.
Set 9 - emerging players. Base price: INR 10 lakh
While all eyes were on Shafali Verma at the Under-19 World Cup, Sehrawat quietly settled in before eventually stealing the limelight from her senior colleague. She's a versatile batter and is an excellent player through the off side, and finished atop the run chart in the tournament in South Africa. Expect her to be on the franchises' radar as they look for reliable, attacking batters.

Hurley Gala (Mumbai)

Set 10 - emerging players. Base price: INR 10 lakh
A seam-bowling allrounder who can tonk the ball? Yes, please! Gala was touted to be one of the key lower-middle-order players for India at the Under-19 World Cup, but a thumb injury ruled her out. Gala, just 16, scored 122 runs in the Women's Under-19 T20 Trophy at a strike rate of 143.52 to go with her seven wickets. She will likely be on the radar of most sides, not least of Mumbai Indians, who have organised numerous school-level tournaments, some of which Gala has participated in.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo