India opener Smriti Mandhana broke bank early as she became the first pick in the Women’s Premier League auction history, being bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for 3.40 Cr INR.
The southpaw, who is currently part of the Indian team in South Africa for the Women’s T20 World Cup, sparked a bidding war between Mumbai Indians and the Bangalore franchise early in the auction.
Wholesome content alert! 🏼 The first ever #WPL player @mandhana_smriti and her team-mates reacting to her signing with RCB 😃 pic.twitter.com/gzRLSllFl2
— JioCinema (@JioCinema) February 13, 2023
A bidding war she saw unfold on a big screen alongside the rest of her India teammates. In a video doing rounds on the social media, the elegant left-handed batter can be seen all delighted, with her teammates cheering besides her, as teams splashed the big bucks for her at the auction.
Mandhana, who was named vice captain of the Indian team across formats last year after Mithali Raj announced her retirement, is likely to captain the Bangalore WPL side as well per Mike Hesson.
“Everyone knows Mandhana and Perry, we were pretty committed to the couple of people we wanted to get. we’re very happy to get such quality players. it’s a dream result for us to get Mandhana, Perry and Devine. Smriti has got plenty of captaincy experience and is familiar with the Indian conditions so highly likely [she’ll be captain],” said Hesson, who is Director of Cricket Operations at RCB.
Since making her T20I debut for India in 2013, Mandhana has scored 2651 runs in 112 matches, the seventh highest among women in the shortest form of the game. These include 20 half centuries.
Apart from Mandhana, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur was amongst the big picks in the first lot of the auction, having been purchased by the Mumbai Indians for 1.8 Cr INR. Australia all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner was the second most expensive buy at 3.2 Cr INR by the Gujarat Giants.