Australians prepare for Women’s T20 World Cup amid countdown to inaugural WPL auction

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Australia’s Women’s T20 World Cup team are preparing for the tournament in the shadow of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL), but they say the upcoming auction is not a distraction.

The first WPL competition, which has been modelled on the existing men’s Indian Premier League, will be held from March 4 to March 26.

There are five franchises who will be bidding for players at the auction in Mumbai on February 13 — Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Giants, Lucknow Warriors, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Recently retired Australian international Rachael Haynes has been announced as the head coach for the Gujarat Giants.

Reports say close to 1,000 players from around the world have registered to be part of the auction, but just 90 players will get to play.

Each team will have a salary cap of 12 crore ($2.11 million) to pay for a squad of 18 players.

Some of the reserved base prices for players will be 50 lakh ($87,950), 40 lakh ($70,360) and 20 lakh ($35,180), but like in the IPL, star players or T20 specialists could well get one of the biggest paydays of their careers.

Speaking in South Africa, where the Australians are preparing for the T20 World Cup, fast bowler Megan Schutt denied the new competition was a distraction for the team, but acknowledged what it would mean for the players who made it to the WPL.