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WPL Auction: Wanted extra pace, so got Ismail on board, says Mumbai Indians coach Charlotte Edwards

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Mumbai, Dec 9 (IANS) Defending champions Mumbai Indians went into the Women's Premier League (WPL) 2024 Auction searching for pace and they got their wish fulfilled by getting South African pacer Shabnim Ismail on board through the auction.

Head coach Charlotte Edwards said the franchise were very happy with the players they got in the mini auction ahead of Season 2. Mumbai Indians had retained 13 players from the squad for the first season.

On Saturday, they added five players: Shabnim Ismail, Fatima Jaffer, S Keerthana, Amandeep Kaur and Sajana Sajeevan. While three of the four Indian players were bought at their base price, Mumbai Indians got Shabnim Ismail for Rs 1.2 crore.

Edwards said MI had a few players on the wishlist at the beginning of the day and managed to snag almost all of them.

“We had a list of players that we wanted before the start of this auction and we got most of them. So we are pretty happy,” Edwards said after the auction.

She said as the franchise wanted to boost up their bowling, South African pacer Ismail ticked the box as she is a proven performer on the big stage.

“The extra pace is something that we wanted. She is one of those players who brings a lot to the group. I’m really excited about having her on board,” Edwards added.

With MI’s breakout star from season one Saika Ishaque making the step up to the international level, Edwards said that she is passionate about helping more players make the step up to the highest level as that is a key focus for Mumbai Indians.

“Developing players is something that we are very passionate about. One thing that MI does really well is scouting. They are still very young and I hope they can be stars of the future for not just Mumbai Indians but also Indian cricket,” Edwards said.

Mentor and bowling coach Jhulan Goswami said Shabnim Ismail's presence will also help the young Indian pacers in the squad. “Shabnim is the fastest bowler currently in women’s cricket. She has vast amounts of experience, we wanted an out-and-out pacer. She is also somebody who can mentor our young crop of fast bowlers like Jintimani Kalita and Pooja Vastrakar, who can learn a lot from her,” Goswami said.

Jhulan further said that the team had a bit of an X factor in the form of left-arm wrist spinner Amandeep Kaur, the first bowler of that kind to feature in the WPL.

“We have great variety in our bowling attack. Amandeep Kaur is a left-arm wrist spinner, which is very unusual in women’s cricket. We also have Fatima Jaffer, who had a great season for domestic T20 champions Mumbai,” Goswami said.

Goswami felt that the team would not have any additional pressure on account of being the defending champions and will look to stick to the template that worked for them in the opening season.

“Mumbai Indians are known for their fighting spirit, so we will look to fight and play as a team as that is what led us to being champions in the inaugural season,” said Jhulan.

--IANS

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