Home SPORTS What might WBBL teams want in the draft? Players, retention picks, squads...

What might WBBL teams want in the draft? Players, retention picks, squads and news

The inaugural WBBL overseas draft takes place on Sunday, with each team able to sign a minimum of two or a maximum three players from the 122 who have nominated. There could be some fascinating tactics. How big of a role will retention picks play, and could there be some surprise picks? ESPNcricinfo runs through how each squad is currently shaping up, and what each club will likely want from the draft.

Adelaide Strikers

Current list: Jemma Barsby, Darcie Brown, Katie Mack, Tahlia McGrath, Annie O’Neil, Madeline Penna, Megan Schutt, Amanda Jade-Wellington

Last playing XI Katie Mack, Laura Wolvaardt, Tahlia McGrath (capt), Bridget Patterson, Madeline Penna, Tegan McPharlin (wk), Amanda-Jade Wellington, Jemma Barsby, Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown

Last season’s overseas/retention options: Laura Wolvaardt, Deandra Dottin, Stafanie Taylor

Draft picks: 8, 16, 17, and 32

What might they want?

Strikers have three retention picks in Laura Wolvaardt, Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor, who returns to the WBBL after missing the last two editions. They may not need to use the retention as a lot of other drama will unfold before their first pick and those three players may not be high on the list of priorities for the other seven teams. Strikers’ title-winning attack is very settled and they already have an allrounder in their captain McGrath. Wolvaardt looms as their most likely target given her consistency at the top of the order for Strikers. Allrounders are in high demand so whether Dottin and Taylor would still be available by pick 16 if Strikers took Wolvaardt first remains to be seen. Strikers also need a wicketkeeper after Tegan McPharlin’s retirement last year. There are precious few options in the draft but India’s Richa Ghosh will be in demand and her power-hitting certainly fits in with Strikers’ batting blueprint.

Who should Strikers retain?

67 votes

Brisbane Heat

Current list: Nicola Hancock, Grace Harris, Laura Harris, Mikayla Hinkley, Ellie Johnston, Jess Jonassen, Charli Knott, Grace Parsons, Georgia Redmayne, Courtney Sippel, Georgia Voll

Last playing XI Georgia Redmayne (wk), Danni Wyatt, Grace Harris, Amelia Kerr, Georgia Voll, Laura Harris, Jess Jonassen (capt), Charli Knott, Nicola Hancock, Courtney Sippel, Jess Kerr

Last season’s overseas/retention options: Amelia Kerr, Danni Wyatt, Jess Kerr, Pooja Vastrakar, Nadine de Klerk

Draft picks: 6, 14, 19, and 30

What might they want?

Skipper Jess Jonassen has already declared that New Zealand star Amelia Kerr is the No.1 priority as a retention pick and Heat may need to use it given their first choice is not until pick 6, with plenty of teams above them in the market for a legspinning allrounder. Thereafter, Heat will be at the mercy of the market given their next pick will pick 14. They will likely need another top order batter given they have an established and powerful middle order already and there should be plenty still available including Danni Wyatt who made two half-centuries for Heat last season. Heat may also look to add another fast bowler and India’s Shikha Pandey might be an experienced and familiar option given she has spent some time training in Brisbane this winter.

Hobart Hurricanes

Current list: Nicola Carey, Maisy Gibson, Heather Graham, Ruth Johnston, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Amy Smith, Molly Strano, Rachel Trenaman, Elyse Villani

Last playing XI Lizelle Lee (wk), Elyse Villani (capt), Mignon du Preez, Heather Graham, Nicola Carey, Ruth Johnston, Rachel Trenaman, Hayley Jensen, Maisy Gibson, Amy Smith, Molly Strano

Last season’s overseas/retention options: Lizelle Lee, Mignon du Preez, Hayley Jensen, Issy Wong

Draft picks: 5, 13, 20, 29

What might they want?

Hurricanes are in an interesting position with two of their overseas players from last year in Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez both bypassing the draft and opting for the WBBL’s unique direct nomination path, where they can be signed by a club of their choice post-draft for a reduced salary. But Hurricanes have to take two overseas players in the draft and can only play three in the team meaning one of those two will likely not play for them. However, as far as priorities go, Hurricanes need a strike bowler and they are in luck with Issy Wong being available as a retention pick. Even though she didn’t play last season she was initially contracted and thus qualifies. That looms as a likely option unless a world-class allrounder somehow slips to No. 5 although Hurricanes do already have Nicola Carey and Heather Graham. If they take Wong, their second target could well be another top-order batter given Lee and du Preez were both key planks in the top three and neither are available in the draft.

Melbourne Renegades

Current list: Sarah Coyte, Jess Duffin, Ellie Falconer, Ella Hayward, Sophie Molineux, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

Last playing XI Hayley Matthews (capt), Chamari Athapaththu, Josie Dooley, Courtney Webb, Erica Kershaw, Carly Leeson, Georgia Prestwidge, Sarah Coyte, Rhiann O’Donnell, Ella Hayward, Shabnim Ismail

Last season’s overseas/retention options: Hayley Matthews, Chamari Athapaththu, Shabhim Ismail, Harmanpreet Kaur, Eve Jones

Draft picks: 2, 10, 23, and 26

What might they want?

Renegades have some interesting choices to make. They can retain Harmanpreet Kaur even though she didn’t play last year. She was outstanding the previous season winning player of the tournament. She brings batting prowess and excellent part-time spin as well as important leadership for a young group. She seems a logical pick at No. 2. But they need another top order batting allrounder and potentially a pace bowler. There should be options available at pick 10 given the way the picks are set to fall. The question will be what the greater priority is given what will be available. Jess Duffin’s return to the squad adds batting depth meaning they could target a pace bowler. But Sophie Molineux’s fitness coming back from a knee injury remains an unknown so another spin-bowling batter might be an option, and there should be a few available.

Melbourne Stars

Current list: Sophie Day, Tess Flintoff, Kim Garth, Meg Lanning, Sasha Moloney, Rhys McKenna, Sophie Reid, Annabel Sutherland

Last playing XI Lauren Winfield-Hill, Sophie Reid, Alice Capsey, Annabel Sutherland, Bess Heath, Kim Garth, Nicole Faltum (wk), Sasha Moloney, Olivia Henry, Rhys McKenna, Sophie Day

Last season’s overseas/retention options: Alice Capsey, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Jemimah Rodrigues, Bess Heath

Draft picks: 4, 12, 21, and 28

What might they want?

Stars need the best player they can possibly get and are in a very good position at pick 4 given what might unfold infront of them with Thunder, Renegades and Scorchers holding the first three picks. If Thunder opt for Marizanne Kapp and Scorchers opt to retain Sophie Devine instead, and Renegades take Harmanpreet Kaur then players such as Heather Knight, Chloe Tryon, Hayley Matthews, Shabnim Ismail and Chamari Athapaththu are all up for grabs among a host of others who aren’t retention options. If Meg Lanning is fit to play a full season, which is looking likely, then Ismail would be a great option to round out Stars’ attack. If Lanning is unavailable, Knight’s experience would be invaluable. Even if they committed to Ismail and missed out on Knight, there is still likely to be some excellent batters and allrounders available at pick 12 in the second round which would also add value to Stars’ side.

Perth Scorchers

Current list: Charis Bekker, Mathilda Carmichael, Peipa Cleary, Maddy Darke, Amy Edgar, Alana King, Lilly Mills, Beth Mooney, Taneale Pechel, Chloe Piparo, Georgia Wyllie

Last playing XI Sophie Devine (capt), Beth Mooney (wk), Maddy Green, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Pipara, Amy Edgar, Mathilda Carmichael, Alana King, Piepa Cleary, Lilly Mills, Holly Ferling

Last season’s overseas/retention options: Marizanne Kapp, Sophie Devine, Maddy Green

Draft picks: 3, 11, 22, and 27

What might they want?

Scorchers are the team most disadvantaged by the move to an overseas draft in the WBBL as they will have to choose between Kapp and Devine as to which allrounder to retain. The decision will shape the whole draft. Either way they go, they will lose a high-quality pace bowling allrounder who bats in the top four and will need to replace her with their second pick at 11. Depending on how the first 10 picks shape someone like Dottin could be available. They could also opt for a batter and back their local bowlers. Athapaththu has played for Scorchers previously and might also be available if Thunder or Renegades don’t take her with their second picks. There is also a scenario where Knight and Taylor are still available at that pick.

The big decision: who should Scorchers retain?

39 votes

Sydney Sixers

Current list: Jade Allen, Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Emma Hughes, Ellyse Perry

Last playing XI Suzie Bates, Alyssa Healy (wk), Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner, Erin Burns, Nicole Bolton, Sophie Ecclestone, Maitlin Brown, Kate Peterson, Angelina Genford, Lauren Cheatle

Last season’s overseas: Sophie Ecclestone, Suzie Bates

Draft picks: 7, 15, 18, and 31

What might they want?

Sixers were certain to take Sophie Ecclestone as a retention pick before her shoulder injury. They now have a clean slate with Suzie Bates unavailable for the draft although she may still play for the Sixers as a directly contracted player post draft. That means the Sixers need to find the best players they can with pick 7 and 15. They definitely need a spinner and England legspinner Sarah Glenn could be an excellent option coming off a very good Hundred tournament. Offspinner Deepti Sharma could also be available as a direct replacement for Nicole Bolton who has retired but the Sixers would prefer a legspinner or left-arm orthodox to complement Gardner and Burns. Sune Luus is not a platinum pick but could be a more than handy pick up later in the draft. Another option is to find a seam-bowling allrounder to deepen the batting and Nadine de Klerk is another non-platinum player who could be a good fit after an excellent English summer for Oval Invincibles and Blaze.

Sydney Thunder

Current list: Hannah Darlington, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Olivia Porter, Lauren Smith

Last playing XI Tammy Beaumont, Phoebe Litchfield, Amy Jones (wk), Rachael Haynes (capt), Chloe Tryon, Olivia Porter, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Hannah Darlington, Lauren Smith, Belinda Vakarewa, Samantha Bates

Last season’s overseas/retention options: Amy Jones, Tammy Beaumont, Chloe Tryon, Lea Tahuhu, Heather Knight

Draft picks: 1, 9, 24, and 25

What might they want?

Scorchers will shape the draft with their retention pick but Thunder are the ones who can set it in motion. They have a lot of great players available and they definitely need high quality players and experience, particularly batters. They can prise one of Kapp or Devine from Perth with that No. 1 pick. Most around the league believe Kapp would be first-choice for any club. But if Scorchers retain Kapp then Thunder have a decision to make. Do they take Devine or do they look elsewhere? They also have pick No.9 which is likely to be a very good player and there is a chance Knight, a former Thunder player, might be available then too. Tammy Beaumont has nominated for a direct route outside the draft and may get to Thunder again so they may look to add another bowler if they can. If Ismail slips through then she might be another they would like to have back after her starring role in their last title in 2020. Amy Jones has also bypassed the draft to be directly contracted by a club and was Thunder’s keeper last season. Thunder will need another keeper if they opt to sign Beaumont.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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