WPL 2024: Meet Kashvee Gautam, the costliest Indian player at 20 years

Gujarat Giants’ as yet uncapped new recruit is thrilled to work with mentor Mithali Raj

Indian cricketer Kashvee Gautam (photo: @KashveeG/X)
Indian cricketer Kashvee Gautam (photo: @KashveeG/X)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

For 20-year-old Kashvee Gautam, it was certainly worth the wait.

After the disappointment of not finding a buyer at the first Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction, she struck gold last Saturday, 9 December—she became the most expensive uncapped player in the second season, with the Gujarat Giants roping her in at Rs 2 crore. 

There is, of course, a pay disparity between the IPL (Indian Premier League) and WPL. But when you realise Rs 2 crore is the base price bracket that holds only the 23 top cricketers (including World Cup-winning skipper Pat Cummins) for the men’s auction, then you also realise that the strapping right-arm seamer from Haryana has not done badly even given the gender pay gap.       

Apart from hitting pay dirt and getting the big break, Gautam was thrilled at the opportunity of working with Mithali Raj, one of her idols and now her mentor at the Giants.

‘’It is a huge opportunity for me to showcase my skills. We have always looked up to Mithali-ji. It is a great opportunity for me to interact with her and seek tips from her,’’ Gautam told the official broadcasters.

The auction for the second season of the WPL saw a number of engaging bids, with franchises pulling out all stops to get young talent on board.

There was a bidding war for Kashvee when the UP Warriorz upped the ante by quoting Rs 75 lakh for her. The Giants responded with a crore — which UP countered again. This went on for some time, until the latter withdrew at the 2 crore mark.  

At 20 years old, Gautam thus became one of the most expensive players in the WPL 2024 auction, alongside Australian all-rounder Annabel Sutherland, who was roped in by the Delhi Capitals (which had former India captain Sourav Ganguly as one of its decision makers).  

Kashvee’s journey so far

It was in 2020 that Gautam turned heads with a 10-wicket haul, including a hat-trick in an ODI game for Chandigarh, against Arunachal Pradesh, at the women’s domestic Under-19 competition.

She was then called up to the Women’s T20 Challenge, the predecessor of the WPL.

During the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy tournament, she took 12 wickets in seven games, at an economy rate of 4.14. Last June, she was also part of India’s triumphant Under-23 squad at the ACC Emerging tournament in Hong Kong. 

"It is quite unbelievable at the moment. I was travelling in the team bus after practice and was informed about the auction by a teammate. The amount kept rising and I was selected,’’ a euphoric Gautam said. 

Taking her cue from the first season of the WPL, Gautam realised that she needed to work on her batting in the lower order and will also need to be able to bowl well with both the new ball and in the later stages of the innings. ‘’I think teams need to be more impactful in the lower middle-order batting. They need to accelerate in the last 3–4 overs, so I have practised accordingly. I have worked on range hitting. I have to be flexible with my bowling, to be able to bowl well with both the new and old balls,’’ she said. 

Now that she is a part of the WPL circuit, Gautam said taking wickets of Australian skipper Alyssa Healy (Delhi Capitals) and West Indies all-rounder Hayley Matthews (Mumbai Indians) are top of her wishlist. 

Finally, what about her ambitions to play for Team India? ‘’I have to give my 100 per cent for Gujarat Giants. If I do well there, I think I can be selected from there.’’

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