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WPL Player Auction : RCB’s Plan A worked to perfection for them : Abhinav Mukund

Mumbai : Former Test opener Abhinav Mukund feels that the plan A which Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had in place during the marquee sets in the ongoing Women’s Premier League (WPL) player auction had worked to perfection for them.

In the marquee sets, RCB bought India vice-captain and left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana for a whopping INR 3.4 crore, the most for a player in the auction.
They also acquired New Zealand captain Sophie Devine at her base price of INR 50 lakhs and Australia’s premier all-rounder Ellyse Perry for INR 1.7 crore.

“I thought RCB were very clear in their plans. They wanted Smriti Mandhana no matter what. They see her as a leadership option and at the top of the order too in particular.
After that, they just went after Sophie Devine as her opening partner.”

“So, they have got their left-right opening combination, and then got in Ellyse Perry. These were the three players RCB were looking for as Plan A options and that Plan A worked to perfection for them as far as I am concerned,” said Mukund to IANS during the second auction break.

Smriti, who was watching the auction proceedings with her Indian team-mates in South Africa due to the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup, said to broadcasters that she is now aiming to carry RCB’s legacy by winning the inaugural WPL trophy.

“We have been watching the auction of men’s (IPL). It is such a big moment for women to have an auction of this sort. The whole thing is exciting. RCB’s legacy is big, they have built a big fan-base.

Hope we both can together build a big team. Namaskara Bengaluru, excited to wear the red and gold and aim for the cup.” Asked if Smriti could be RCB’s captain in the WPL, Mike Hesson, Director of Cricket at RCB, did agree to that possibility.

“Smriti has got plenty of captaincy experience and is familiar with the Indian conditions so highly likely (she’ll be captain). But with every leadership group, you need senior players around you and so, from the first set, we got three highly-experienced players.”

“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 in the first group,” he said in the press conference.

With less time to build teams for the WPL, RCB had roped in former India batter V Vanitha as a scout apart from their scouting head Malolan Rangarajan. Hesson also pointed out that data regarding women cricketers is limited too.

“I think it’s also that the data is limited. You can’t just sit on your phone and search Cricinfo and find out a whole lot of deal about them. It’s more about going out and getting different eyes on the players so you can validate your information.

The data in terms of strike rate is pretty obsolete in terms of the games they are playing.” “So we need to go out and get a number of ex-players who are scouts and can bring out the information of the modern game and challenge us.

Data, video footage and obviously expert opinion is what brought all of us together.” Abhinav Mukund is part of Viacom18’s expert panel for the first-ever Women’s Premier League Players auction. The auction is live on Sports18 – 1 SD & HD and JioCinema.


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