WPL auction: Five Indian uncapped players who could steal the limelight

Mannat Kashyap struck in her first over ICC/Getty Images

With the WPL auction scheduled for Saturday, 21 Indian players are in line to be picked among the 30 slots available for the five franchises. Here's a lowdown on some of the top Indian uncapped talent that franchises have had a close eye on and could bid for.

Vrinda Dinesh, Top order batter

A prolific scorer for Karnataka over the past two seasons, Vrinda has earned plaudits for her ability to blend consistency with her robust power-hitting up front. At 22, she has already broken through the ranks of India A, having recently been part of the squad that played three home games against England A.

In June, Vrinda's first brush with top-flight cricket came when she was part of the victorious India Under-23 squad that featured in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Hong Kong. Not named in the initial squad, Vrinda put in compelling performances in the warm-up fixtures before the squad's departure. And when they needed a replacement for the injured fast bowler S Yashasri, Vrinda got called up.

Straight off the flight, Vrinda was named in the XI for the final, where she impressed with a 29-ball 36 in India Emerging's 127 for 7, which proved 31 too many for Bangladesh on a sluggish surface. Vrinda only got an opportunity to feature in that game because Muskan Malik's kit didn't arrive in time.

Vrinda idolises Meg Lanning and has attended trials conducted by all five WPL franchises during the off-season. Earlier this year, she played a key role in Karnataka's run to the final of the Senior Women's one-day competition. She finished as the third-highest run-getter, behind Jasia Akter and Priya Punia, with 477 runs in 11 innings at 47.70. This included 81 in the semi-final against Rajasthan.

Uma Chetry, wicketkeeper

A wicketkeeper-batter with the ability to dash off the blocks in the powerplay, Chetry has given scouts a taste of what to expect in the recently concluded A series between India and England. Apart from neat glove work, Chetry made a pair of quickfire 20s in the second and third T20s. Like Vrinda, Chetry also played a crucial cameo up top in the Emerging tournament final in Hong Kong.

Earlier this year, Chetry became the first player from Assam - male or female - to earn a call-up to the Indian team (for the Bangladesh tour). In September, she was also part of India's Asian Games squad that beat Sri Lanka to win gold in Hangzhou. With Richa Ghosh and Yastika Bhatia ahead of her in the pecking order, a debut with the senior team may have to wait, but Chetry is already a trailblazer for those in her state. A WPL call-up could further accelerate her journey to the top.

Kashvee Gautam, seamer

A right-arm seamer who can hit the long ball, Kashvee put herself into the record books in 2020 when she picked up a ten-wicket haul, including a hat-trick, in a one-day game for Chandigarh against Arunachal Pradesh at the women's domestic Under-19 competition. It led to a call-up for one of the teams in the now-erstwhile Women's T20 Challenge. Those feats have kept her in the books of several scouts.

Kashvee is a tall hit-the-deck bowler, who has worked on upping her pace based on feedback given by scouts after last year's WPL auction where she went unsold. She has been a steady, if not sensational, performer in domestic cricket. At the Senior Women's T20 Trophy, she picked up 12 wickets in seven games at an economy of 4.14. In June, she was part of India's triumphant Under-23 squad at the ACC Emerging tournament in Hong Kong. More recently, she was part of two games during the A series, picking up three wickets for India A.

Mannat Kashyap, left-arm-spinner

It's unlikely Kashyap would've envisaged coming into the limelight by running out a batter backing up too far at the non-striker's end - for India Under-19 against South Africa Under-19 last year - but there's more to her cricket smarts than just that.

A crafty left-arm-spinner, perhaps even old-school according to scouts, Kashyap gives the ball a good rip. There's also the subtle deception she prides herself on, through the use of the crease and angles. Kashyap is currently riding a massive wave of confidence, having forced her way into India's T20I squad for the ongoing England series.

Kashyap was part of India's victorious women's Under-19 World Cup winning squad in February. While she wasn't an immediate starter, she made an impression in her first outing, picking up a four-for against Scotland. Her nine wickets in six games overall were the second-best for India behind Parshavi Chopra. Later in the year, she played a key role in the ACC Emerging final, picking up 3 for 20 in India's defence of 127.

Gautami Naik, allrounder

Having started off as a bowling allrounder, Naik has begun to make waves at the top of the order with her gung-ho style of play, forming a formidable partnership with Yastika Bhatia for Baroda. In addition to being a floater in the batting order, Naik can also contribute with some handy offspin that makes her a valuable proposition. She was the fifth-highest run-getter in the recently concluded Senior Women's T20 Trophy, scoring 264 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 132.66. Prior to her move to Baroda, Naik featured for Nagaland in the domestic circuit.