WPL 2023: Mandhana, Richa, Renuka to bolster Royal Challengers Bangalore

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MUMBAI: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) took an aggressive yet confident approach in acquiring a team that is a mix of talented 18 players during the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction on Monday in Mumbai.

Backed with strong homework, research, and scouting over months, RCB had a clear-cut plan going into the auction of the first-ever edition of the WPL. Sticking to the strategy of giving shape to a bold squad, RCB opened their innings with the buy of distinguished Indian opener Smriti Mandhana (INR 3.40 cr), who also happened to become the most expensive buy not only at WPL but among all other women’s cricket leagues in the world.

Following the acquisition of the two-time ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year, the team proceeded to add notable international names to their squad including the Australian duo of all-rounder Ellyse Perry (INR 1.70 CR), and medium pacer Megan Schutt (INR 40 lakh), New Zealand’s captain Sophie Devine (INR 50 lakh), England’s skipper Heather Knight (INR 40 lakh) and South African all-rounder Dane Van Niekerk (INR 30 lakh), a release said.

The young and emerging talented wicket-keeper Richa Ghosh (INR 1.90 crore) and right-arm pacer Renuka Singh (INR 1.50 crore) were among the significant Indian additions to RCB’s star-studded roster.

In line with their commitment to giving more chances to raw talents from India, as emphasised by Director of Cricket Operations, Mike Hesson, RCB also signed wrist-spinner Asha Shobana (INR 10 Lakh), promising off-spinner Shreyanka Patil (INR 10 Lakh) and all-rounder Kanika Ahuja (INR 35 Lakh).

Speaking about the first-ever WPL auction, Prathmesh Mishra, Chairman, RCB said, “Buying a women’s team was always on the cards for RCB and we started putting the puzzles together months in advance before WPL team tender.

Appointing former India cricketer Vanitha VR as our scout was key in that process. She comes with huge experience and knowledge of the domestic circuit as well as the contemporary cricketers from the world over.

“Her inputs and our “RCB Hinterland” scouting process together ensured we started our evaluation process way ahead of time. However, with the lack of readily available data on women’s cricket, we had to put the prospective players through multiple scouting layers, we believe in multiple eyes, multiple times as our guiding principle, before shortlisting the top 100 names, who would be the best fit for RCB’s Play Bold philosophy.”

Speaking about the buys and the strategy behind the aggressive bidding at the auction, Mike Hesson, Director of Cricket Operations, RCB, said, “Not only did we get our auction dynamics right but we have also surpassed our expectations.

The team we have picked is not just 100% but 120% on target with what we have set out. Our scouting team definitely had a big role in going out and getting eyes on the players worth going after, finding the raw talents and being confident to polish them to accomplish the vision mix.

“Smriti Mandhana can play bold and is very well respected among Indian players and overseas. Ellyse Perry is a very experienced and a power player too. She can also bat anywhere in the batting order between opening to six; can bowl bouncers and has a vast experience of playing in India. She is someone who will also add more leadership value within the group. This is an exciting group of cricketers we have amongst us and I am super proud to be part of this team,” Hesson said.

RCB squad: Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh, Ellyse Perry, Renuka Singh, Sophie Devine, Heather Knight, Megan Schutt, Kanika Ahuja, Erin Burns, Dane Van Niekerk, Preeti Bose, Komal Zanzad, Shreyanka Patil, Poonam Khemnar, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Sahana Pawar and Asha Shobana. (ANI)

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