Bowlers win tournaments. UP Warriorz seems to think so, given its approach at the auction. It has put together a team with several bowling options. There is no shortage of quality all-rounders, either.
As for batting, Warriorz have two of the leading ladies in the game at the moment — Alyssa Healy and Tahlia McGrath. Healy has also been named captain, though there had been some talk that the franchise’s costliest acquisition (₹2.6 crore) and local girl Deepti Sharma could be given that role. Healy led (in the absence of Meg Lanning) the Aussies to a 4-1 victory in the T20I series against India in Mumbai a couple of months ago. She might be glad that all the WPL matches are being played at the same venues — the Brabourne Stadium and D.Y. Patil Stadium.
Her form with the bat could be crucial for UP Warriorz.
There isn’t much experience in batting for Warriorz, apart from Healy and compatriot McGrath, the World’s No. 1 T20I batter. The team management also has its task cut out when it comes to deciding the middle-order, where the options are the Indian duo of Kiran Navgire and Simran Sheikh.
The next big thing?
Healy is likely to open with Shweta Sehrawat, who was the leading scorer at the inaugural Under-19 World Cup, which India won in South Africa recently. She could be the next big thing in Indian women’s cricket.
Deepti and Devika Vaidya, the other spinning all-rounder for whom the franchise spent a fortune, could have a fair bit of batting to do. When you add England’s Sophie Ecclestone (the World No. 1), Rajeshwari Gayakwad and promising leg-spinner Parshavi Chopra, UP has arguably the strongest group of ‘slow’ women in the tournament.
Australia’s Grace Harris can also bowl spin, but it is her big sixes the team will want more.
When it comes to pace, UP Warriorz has one of the world’s fastest women in Shabnim Ismail of South Africa. Anjali Sarvani, the left-armer who has had to wait long to make her international debut, could be the ideal foil. For back-up, there is England’s Lauren Bell.
The WPL will be held in Mumbai from March 4 to 26.