Former Pakistan captain Urooj Mumtaz, bemoaned the “unfortunate” omission of Pakistani players from the inaugural Women’s Premier League season (WPL).
The auction for the first-ever Women’s Premier League (WPL), a landmark moment in the history of women’s cricket, concluded on Monday. The affair was full of surprises, wholesome moments, unpredictability and thrill that can change the sport and thousands of lives associated with it for the better.
The auction started off with a bang, with Indian star opener Smriti Mandhana becoming the first-ever player to be picked. Royal Challengers Bangalore splurged a massive sum of Rs 3.4 crore, making her the most expensive player in WPL. Just moments later, her skipper and batting star Harmanpreet Kaur was picked up by Mumbai Indians for INR 1.8 crore. International talent from other countries got a lot of attention in the auction.
But one nation will miss out on this opportunity: Pakistan’s cricketers were never in the race to join the league because they were completely absent from the auction list.
“It is extremely unfortunate to see Pakistan players missing out,” Urooj Mumtaz, the former Pakistan captain and commentator, told ESPNcricinfo.
“Every opportunity must be fair and inclusive, and all opportunities are steps towards collectively raising the standard of the women’s game and globally growing the sport. Most importantly, they bridge the gap in quality between cricketing nations,” she added.
The men’s Pakistan Super League (PSL), which started on Monday, in which Pakistan’s players were scheduled to compete. The inaugural women’s T20 league was originally slated to debut during this season, but that idea was scrapped after the board’s leadership, Ramiz Raja, was replaced by Najam Sethi in December. That league has now been postponed to September at the earliest.
After a clash against India in the Women’s T20 World Cup match, Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof was also asked about the WPL auction, and she said players from Pakistan would “love to play” in any league that gave them the chance.
“We as Pakistan you know we don’t get many opportunities to play in the leagues and that’s very unfortunate. Definitely, we will love to play and we would want every opportunity we can get in the leagues. But yeah, that’s what it is and we can’t control that,” said Maroof during an ICC press conference.
The inaugural edition of WPL will be played in Mumbai from March 4 to 26 across two Mumbai venues. (ANI)