England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt secures £320,000 deal at WPL auction

England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt and spinner Sophie Ecclestone both secured six-figure deals at the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction.

Sciver-Brunt was sold to the Charlotte Edwards-coached Mumbai Indians for 3.2 crore (around GBP 320,000), while Ecclestone will play under England head coach Jon Lewis at UP Warriorz after landing a deal worth 1.8 crore (around GBP 180,000).

England captain Heather Knight was among the big names who looked like she may go unsold before the Royal Challengers Bangalore came in with 40 lakh (around GBP 40,000), with a maximum of six international players permitted on each the league’s five founding teams.

India’s Smriti Mandhana was the first player up and attracted the top price, with Royal Challengers Bangalore paying 3.4 crore (around GBP 340,000) for the services of the hard-hitting batter, who watched it all unfold from the T20 World Cup in South Africa alongside her team-mates.

Former England batter Lydia Greenway hailed the eye-watering sums splashed on the top talent as a seismic shift for the women’s game.

She told Viacom18 Sports: “It’s massive. The amount that Smriti Mandhana has just gone for is unheard of in our game.

“You’d be lucky if you made that out of the whole of your career as an international female cricketer, going back a few years.

“It’s a life-changing amount of money. It’s about the security of it.

“I know these players can now just focus on playing, but I think for the youngsters, as well to see this happening, hopefully it will just encourage a few more young girls to pick up a cricket bat as well.”

England all-rounder Alice Capsey was claimed by Delhi Capitals for around GBP 75,000
England all-rounder Alice Capsey was claimed by Delhi Capitals for around GBP 75,000 (Nigel French/PA)

Australian all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner rounded out the top three, fetching around the same price as Sciver-Brunt when she was snapped up by Gujarat Giants.

Each franchise began with a purse of around GBP 11.5million to spend on a squad of between 15 and 18 players for the new tournament, which will last 23 days between March 4-26.

Even those not commanding top bids still fetched considerably more than they would elsewhere in the women’s game.

England all-rounder Alice Capsey was claimed by Delhi Capitals for around GBP 75,000 and Gujarat Giants picked up England batter Sophia Dunkley for just over GBP 60,000.

Issy Wong joined Sciver-Brunt at Mumbai Indians for about GBP 30,000, while England bowler Lauren Bell fetched a similar amount as she was added to the UP Warriorz line-up.

In comparison, the Hundred paid its top women’s talent a maximum fee of GBP 31,250 in 2022.

England captain Heather Knight was among the big names who went unsold
England captain Heather Knight was sold to Royal Challengers Bangalore (Aaron Chown/PA)

Four England players entered the auction at the maximum base price of GBP 50,000, including Ecclestone, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Katherine Sciver-Brunt and Danni Wyatt.

All-rounder Wyatt and Katherine Sciver-Brunt were among the unsold players on a list that also included England wicket-keeper Amy Jones, Kent captain Tammy Beaumont, England under-19 captain Grace Scrivens and Scottish sisters Sarah and Kathryn Bryce.

Broadcast rights for the league have been sold for GBP 95million in an initial agreement covering the first five years of the tournament.