The women’s IPL auction changed the game for cricket

There is another important factor surrounding the WPL.

By shedding such a bright light on the best female cricketers and opening them up to endorsement deals in India, by far the largest market for cricket, the auction will play its part in ensuring that women become as ubiquitous as their male counterparts in a commercial sense.

Something remarkable when comparing the highest-paid male and female athletes in the world is that in most cases, the off-field support money for the likes of Messi, LeBron James, or Steph Curry is about the same as their playing contracts.

In contrast, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and others at the top of the women’s sporting income structure benefit far, far more from their sponsorships and partnerships than from money made purely from playing.

There is a growing desire for brands to align themselves with high-profile, highly successful women athletes, but in the case of cricket, creating a bigger profile for its best women will take it to a whole different level due to the WPL’s delay in entering the schedule.

As always at an auction, there were a few prices that surprised even at the lower end. Alyssa Healy, dominator of World Cup finals in recent years, was picked for around $120,000, signaling a subtle shift towards younger players. Meg Lanning’s price tag of around $190,000 was excellent for a player who has just returned from sabbatical but falls somewhere in the middle.

As important as money is to cricket, how will the WPL put a definitive stamp on Twenty20 as the format in which women’s football is set to continue to grow.

Where the men’s game has always had to coexist between three formats, particularly the contrast between Test matches and the shortest form, women’s cricket is now racing at full speed towards a Twenty20 future.

Belinda Clark, whose statue was unveiled at the SCG Test earlier this year in recognition of her profile as a player, captain and administrator, has long believed women’s football must lead with Twenty20 because “format constraints” would put players under pressure to be aggressive.

Mooney, who won the Belinda Clark Trophy at the Australian Cricket Awards last month, noted that the same mindset championed by former women’s national coach Matthew Mott was instrumental in how Gardner and McGrath shaped their games.

“I think Motty’s legacy will hopefully live on for a long time to come. He gave us a platform to be ourselves and play the game and sort of create our own spin on how we wanted to play,” Mooney had said after accepting her garland.


“I think someone like Ash Gardner could absolutely have been lost if she hadn’t had someone like Motty to nurture her and show her that we need skills to be successful.

“And you know I could name a number of other players, Tahlia McGrath only came back on the scene about 18 months ago and she’s up there tonight, winning awards and also being one of the frontrunners for that award. So I think he just gave us the platform to do that and most importantly, but also to play the game with our own little spin.”

With strength, all-around ability and impressive composure, Gardner and McGrath are now at the forefront of a world-leading change in women’s sport. The women’s IPL auction changed the game for cricket

Ryan Sederquist

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