Huge payday awaits players in AUS Women’s Premier League auction

Thoughts of a big payday haven’t even entered the dreams of Australia’s T20 stars at the World Cup in South Africa, with the first Women’s Premier League auction hours not days away.

There will be 28 Australians vying for just 30 spots for overseas players shared among the five teams that will outlay more than $2.1m to fill their squads on Monday night.

Australia boasts the No.1 and No.2 T20 batters in the world in Tahlia McGrath and Beth Mooney, and the No.1 all-rounder in Ash Gardner, who are certain to attract attention in the inaugural auction that has been called a “game-changer” for women’s sport.

Gardner is the first Aussie up for auction on Monday night, fresh off a starring role in Australia’s opening World Cup win that would only have enhanced her chances of cashing in.

The 25-year-old, like all of her teammates, has tried not to be distracted by the impending windfall but conceded it was hard to ignore.

“To be honest, I’ve tried to not think about it, but I’d be lying if I haven’t. I actually dreamt about it the other night, which is quite sad but which is quite funny but that’s how much I’ve been thinking about it,” Gardner said.

“But I think it’s a huge moment for women’s cricket and to see that the money that’s been put into women’s cricket over in India to ultimately have that global impact, to have associate players given the opportunity to play in that competition is huge to take back to their homelands.

“And for me, it’s certainly not about the money side of things, it’s being able to go over there and challenge myself in different conditions. Playing in India is super challenging and the conditions are challenging with the heat and things like that.

“But if I get the opportunity to go over there and play in that, I’ll certainly be pretty happy with it, but my focus right now is on the World Cup and playing for my country and that’s kind of a side thing, kind of the elephant in the room for a lot of teams and trying to keep our focus pretty sharply on this World Cup.”