Gujarat Giants got to look for two fast bowlers in WPL Auction: WV Raman

Anjum Chopra and WV Raman, analyzed each of the five teams and the players they would like to target ahead of WPL 2024 Auction.

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WV Raman.
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W.V. Raman. (Photo Source: Sportstarlive)

Ahead of the WPL 2024 Auction in Mumbai on December 9, JioCinema experts Anjum Chopra and WV Raman, analysed each of the five teams and the players they would like to target. Excerpts: 

GUJARAT GIANTS  

Remaining purse: Rs 5.95 crore 

Slots to fill: 10 of which 3 are overseas 

On Giants’ strategy 

WV Raman: Their retentions suggest that they’ve banked on batters taking them along. In this kind of competition, be it WPL or IPL, the foreigners are required either to generate pace or to hit fast bowlers. But what’s happened here is that they’ve let go of all their fast bowlers. For instance, (Annabel) Sutherland was let go and she’s a very good all-rounder, I thought that was a surprise. And now they’ve got to look for two fast bowlers and they need a couple of Indian batters and spinners as well. 

On whom GG may target 

Anjum Chopra: Annabel Sutherland was an integral part of the team, especially when Beth Mooney got injured, and Sushma Verma came into the picture. I’m surprised they released her (Verma) as well because she was the backup wicketkeeper and the base of the team. I get a feeling that they’re trying to rebuild the team while keeping resources. Amount has been added but why spend extra if it is not required? That balance will be tested as well. I’m not too worried about Sutherland because they’re looking for an out-and-out seam bowler. I’ll not be surprised if they go hard after Shabnim Ismail. She’s a regular feature who can bend her back and bowl, and a mix-and-match 50-50 kind of a cricketer. 

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE 

Remaining purse: Rs 3.35 crore 

Slots to fill: 7 of which 3 are overseas 

On Megan Schutt’s release 

Anjum Chopra: Releasing Megan Schutt was a little surprising. They relied on her but she didn’t find the going very comfortable, especially towards the end. They might be looking at Sutherland coming in because, for sure, they’ll be getting Heather Knight and Ellyse Perry to play, so another all-rounder as an option, Sutherland will be a good addition to this lineup with Smriti Mandhana. They need an out-and-out fast bowler. If you have the option to build your squad around a fast bowler who can bat as well, they can look at that. 

On whether RCB will bid for a player they released 

WV Raman: I don’t think so, because they wouldn’t have released them in the first place. I think what they’re looking for is an Indian batter. It could be Veda Krishnamurthy to add the local flavour. They’ll also be looking at a left-arm spinner because they need bowlers who can provide some variations and they need a real pacer there in their lineup. They need someone to rattle the Indian batters in the opposing camps, so that’s what they’re looking for. They also need a backup spinner and pacer. 

UP WARRIORZ 

Remaining purse: Rs 4 crore 

Slots to fill: 5 of which 1 is overseas 

On UP Warriorz’ options 

Anjum Chopra: I don’t think she (Shabnim Ismail) really wanted to continue there. But that’s because she didn’t get a chance to play. A player like Shabnim Ismail wants to get an outing every game. She’s been a spearhead of the South African team over the years, so when you come in as that, you want every outing to be your basic outing. Now she’s relying on the international leagues after retiring, so she won’t want to be left out, much like Deandra Dottin. They have to have a fast bowler come in, but if they don’t get one to come in, that’s where I think Amanda-Jade Wellington will be a good buy for them. 

On Warriorz’ challenge 

WV Raman: The problem is that they’ve got five overseas players already, they have room for one more. So who are they going to bring in? Out of these five, it’s a problem for them to decide which four will play. It leaves them very little room as far as foreign players are concerned, so they’ll have to go really banking on Indian players. 

DELHI CAPITALS 

Remaining purse: Rs 2.25 crore 

Slots to fill: 3 of which 1 is overseas 

On who DC will target 

WV Raman: They’re well-stocked. If they need to look at anything, it’s a backup keeper. Uma Chetry will be on the radar of the Delhi Capitals. As far as the squad is concerned, they were waiting with bated breath when Meg Lanning retired, wondering if she’s retiring from all forms of cricket. It doesn’t look like it, so that’s a relief for them. 

On Tara Norris’ release 

Anjum Chopra: Because they’ve released Tara Norris, they definitely have their eyes set on another associate player. If they have to invest in a talent, they’d rather go for an Indian talent with more time to build for the future. A few Indian batters who’ve done well in domestic cricket like Vrinda, Uma Chetry, and Sushma, a wicketkeeper batter who can come in, so that’s where the investment should go. But if they can get a steal in the auction, why not? 

Mumbai Indians 

Remaining purse: Rs 2.1 crore 

Slots to fill: 5 of which 1 is overseas 

On MI’s choices  

Anjum Chopra: You want to keep your nucleus and build upon it. They’re very aware. The little conversations I’ve picked up on, they’re looking for a leg-spinner. Also, have an all-rounder batter who can be an explosive finisher in this role. They’ve got a good batting line-up with Amelia Kerr coming in after Nat-Sciver Brunt. But if you can get an Indian recruit like Simran Shaikh and Simran Bahadur, it will help. That’s where they can strengthen with Jintimani Kalita and Amanjot Kaur, all are similar all-rounders. 

On MI’s long-term plan 

WV Raman: I think they’ll use this auction for investment and they’ll unearth a diamond like they always do. They’ll pick up 3-4 players for the future and develop their skills so they can serve them in the years to come. They’ll look for young Indian players because they know you have to have a strong Indian contingent in your squad for you to win tournaments. They’ve seen it work for them in the men’s vertical. 

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