India captain Harmanpreet Kaur was signed up by Mumbai Indians (MI) for INR 1.80 crore in the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL) Player Auction here on Monday.
Harmanpreet had entered the auction with a base price of INR 50 lakh, and was then in a three-way bidding between Mumbai, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Delhi Capitals (DC). She was then signed up by MI, becoming the second player to be signed in the auction after Smriti Mandhana was snapped by RCB.
It also makes MI the team to have two Indian cricket team captains – Harmanpreet in WPL and Rohit Sharma in IPL. Shortly after being snapped by MI, Harmanpreet said to JioCinema and Sports18 that she wants to emulate the success of the Mumbai Indians men's team in IPL through the WPL, to be held from March 4-26 next month.
"I have always seen Mumbai Indians do well in the IPL and now I also have a chance to be part of the Mumbai Indians team and I hope we will make a good team. It's a gamechanger for all of us because we are going to experience this kind of pressure for the first time."
"I am very excited and at the same time this will entirely change women's cricket not only in India but world cricket too. It's a great initiative and we are looking forward to that. We all are coming to Mumbai and hope we will get all the support from Mumbai Indians. MI fans have always been very great and like how MI men have been doing, we would like to contribute the same way."
Smriti, on the other hand, was watching the auction proceedings with her Indian team-mates in South Africa due to the ongoing Women's T20 World Cup, and was the first player to be out for bid in the marquee set 1. MI and RCB were in an intense battle to get her services, before the latter emerged successful.
"I think it's been over last ten years we've been watching auctions for men and it was just amazing because I'm always glued to auctions of men whenever they used to happen. It's such a big movement for women's cricket too for us to have an auction of this sort. I think this is history, firstly the announcement of WPL and then this auction. I think the whole thing is exciting and I'm saying it's exciting time ahead," she said.
Interestingly, Smriti wears number 18 jersey, which is the same number which Virat Kohli wears for RCB in the men's Indian Premier League (IPL). "I think the legacy of RCB is way high because this franchise is existing from past 10 years for men's IPL and they have built a huge fan base. So, yeah, really excited to be part of such a big franchise and I hope that we both can together build a great team."
"I think I'm really excited to be the part of RCB. 'Namaskara Bengaluru', I think that's how they say and also excited about wearing the red colour and going out there and trying to get the cup. All the fans keep supporting us and we will try and have a great tournament," she concluded. 20230213-182604