The first Women’s Premier League (WPL) player auction is likely to take place on 11 or 13 February either in New Delhi or Mumbai with the BCCI making a final decision this week. The BCCI had initially planned to host the auction on February 6 in Mumbai, giving the five newly established franchises just under a month to prepare for the inaugural WPL season, which is anticipated to run from March 4 to 24 as per ESPNcricinfo.
However, the BCCI was compelled to alter that plan for two reasons. First, the bulk of the five WPL franchise owners also own clubs in the ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates and the SA20 in South Africa, both of which will hold finals on February 11 and 12, respectively. The five franchises were acquired by the owners of the three IPL teams–Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Delhi Capitals–along with Adani Group and Capri Global for a total of INR 4669.99 crore (about USD 572.78 million).
This represents the largest deal ever made in women’s cricket. While the sports division of the Adani Group, Adani Sportsline, won the Ahmedabad franchise, Capri Global, a non-banking financial firm, chose Lucknow as its centre of operations. The three IPL teams, Mumbai, Capitals, and Royal Challengers settled in the same cities that serve as their IPL hubs: Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. The ILT20 is home to four WPL franchises: MI Emirates, Dubai Capitals, Gulf Giants (Adani), and Sharjah Warriors (Capri).
Teams in the SA20 are run by the Mumbai and Capitals owners: MI Cape Town and Pretoria Capitals. The teams’ insufficient time to build their coaching staff, which would be a crucial consideration when choosing players at the auction, is the second reason. As a result, it is believed that all of the franchisees asked the BCCI to postpone the auction from February 6 to a further date.
The 22 games that make up the inaugural WPL season will be played at Brabourne Stadium and the DY Patil Cricket Academy in Mumbai, two locations identified by the BCCI. The Women’s T20 World Cup, which concludes on February 26 in South Africa, and the Women’s Premier League both begin shortly which could provide logistical difficulties, according to the BCCI. Playing at just two locations in the same city will eliminate travel challenges and keep players prepared for the matches that would be played in a limited window with less than a week to fly to India after the completion of the T20 World Cup.