Home SPORTS Marizanne Kapp goes pick one to Sydney Thunder in WBBL draft as...

Marizanne Kapp goes pick one to Sydney Thunder in WBBL draft as Perth Scorchers retain Devine

Marizanne Kapp was unsurprisingly selected by Sydney Thunder with pick one in the inaugural WBBL overseas draft and Perth Scorchers elected not to retain South Africa’s star allrounder, instead choosing to retain their current captain, Sophie Devine.

Scorchers were always set to shape the draft with their retention pick as they had to decide between Kapp and Devine as to which allrounder to retain. Thunder took Kapp with pick one and the Scorchers kept their retention pick in their pocket, meaning Kapp will join her third WBBL club having played for Sydney Sixers and Scorchers previously.

Melbourne Renegades immediately selected Devine with pick two but Scorchers swiftly used their retention pick to ensure their captain remained in Perth with her leadership a major reason as to why she was retained over Kapp.

Scorchers coach Bec Grundy said the decision came down to Devine’s leadership quality.

“It was incredibly difficult,” Grundy said. “To be honest, we’ve flipped from one to the other for a period of time. Two world-class players, two players who helped us win our first championship. But ultimately it came down to leadership and the captaincy. It’s such a pivotal role in T20 cricket in particular. That’s ultimately what split the two. We’re actually really sad to lose Marizanne.”

The flow on effects were interesting thereafter through the first two rounds but the draft ultimately fell flat in rounds three and four with seven of the eight clubs passing twice each, and only Thunder taking the full quota of three players. Six of the clubs that passed twice and only took two players are set to sign another overseas via the unique direct nomination route in the next 24 hours but the players can only sign at 95% of the amount of silver category player – which equates to AU$61,750.

Renegades opted for West Indies allrounder Hayley Matthews due to her all-round capabilities and leadership. They had the option of picking India captain Harmanpreet Kaur but chose Matthews first after she captained Renegades late last season as cover for the injured Sophie Molineux.

Renegades kept their retention pick but didn’t need it in the end as they still took Harmanpreet with pick 10 in the second round as a platinum player after the six clubs looked elsewhere. Kaur was the only India player selected in the draft out of 18 that nominated with the likes of Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh, Deepti Sharma and Pooja Vastrakar all left on the table.

Renegades’ selection of Matthews and Harmanpreet meant they did not retain Shabnim Ismail. The South African quick instead went to Hobart Hurricanes with pick five after Melbourne Stars chose England rising star Alice Capsey.

Renegades coach Simon Helmot told ESPNcricinfo that it was a really difficult decision to pass on Ismail.

“That was really tough,” Helmot said. “I said this to Shabs straight after the last season. We have to improve our batting. We need runs. Batting depth is what we’re looking to develop.”

Renegades only took two players but look set to add another batter via a direct nomination on Monday.

Stars took another familiar face in the second round in Maia Bouchier, who played at Stars despite some more experienced players still being available.

Amelia Kerr returned to Brisbane Heat with pick six as expected but Sydney Sixers raised some eyebrows picking South Africa allrounder Chloe Tryon with their first platinum pick. With Sophie Ecclestone out injured, they did not replace her with a specialist spinner but instead opted for Tryon who will join her third WBBL club after playing at both Hurricanes and Thunder. Sixers wanted a left-arm orthodox to replace Ecclestone but also needed some batting after the retirement of Nicole Bolton.

Adelaide Strikers passed in the first round to try and retain Laura Wolvaardt at the gold level rather than platinum to save some money within the salary cap with the salary difference of AU$20,000. But Stars called Strikers’ bluff picking Wolvaardt at the platinum price in the second round at pick 12, forcing Strikers to match at that price.

“We were always keen to retain Laura,” Strikers coach Luke Williams told ESPNcricinfo. “She’s been a fantastic asset to us over the last three years and in the end, it was platinum that was needed to retain Laura.”

But Strikers passed on Deandra Dottin for the same reason after she had nominated at the platinum and gold price only. As a result, Dottin was not selected by any team. Strikers took emerging England allrounder Danielle Gibson at the silver price instead.

“We loved having Deandra,” Williams said. “Obviously it just got down to whether we were able to fit her within the salary cap and obviously Deandra nominated at platinum and gold level and we ended up with a platinum and silver picks tonight.

“[Gibson]’s a really exciting player that looks to be improving all the time. She offers great flexibility in terms of being able to bat in the powerplay and through the middle and the same with her bowling.”

Thunder were the only club to pick three players in the draft and arguably left with the best haul taking Kapp, England captain Heather Knight and swing bowler Lauren Bell after they did a pick swap with Sydney Sixers.

Scorchers took Danni Wyatt with their second pick and Brisbane Heat decided not to retain her. Scorchers’ top order looks power-packed with a decision to be made on whether Wyatt opens instead of one of the successful duo of Devine and Beth Mooney.

How the draft played out

Sydney Thunder: Marizanne Kapp, Heather Knight, Lauren Bell

Perth Scorchers: Sophie Devine (retained), Danni Wyatt

Melbourne Renegades: Hayley Matthews, Harmanpreet Kaur

Melbourne Stars: Alice Capsey, Maia Bouchier

Hobart Hurricanes: Shabnim Ismail, Bryony Smith

Brisbane Heat: Amelia Kerr, Bess Heath

Sydney Sixers: Chloe Tryon, Jess Kerr

Adelaide Strikers: Laura Wolvaardt, Danielle Gibson

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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