England bowler Issy Wong was stunned to see her name attached to a £30,000 price tag at the inaugural Women’s Premier League auction.
That is just £1250 less than the £31,250 top band for contracts in The Hundred’s women’s competition for 23 days’ work in India, just eight months after Wong made her England debut.
The 20-year-old’s Mumbai Indians will face UP Warriorz in Friday’s play-off to find out which team will meet Delhi Capitals in Sunday’s final of the competition seamer Wong has dreamed about since she was a child.
“It was quite surreal,” Wong told the PA news agency. “It was one of those where you never really back yourself. It’s different I guess for the guys who are first name out in the draft, they know they are going to get picked up.
“But for a lot of us kind of sat underneath that it was very much unknown. Like, who knows what could happen? And it was kind of like that for a few months leading up to it. To be part of the first edition of that, the men’s competition of the IPL is something I’ve literally watched since I was that big.
“So to be part of this first edition, to get that experience of playing in a different culture, playing in India where cricket is a religion, and picking brains of people who have done a lot more of it than me, that’s all you can ask for, really.”
Wong has a busy summer ahead. She is one of four players retained by Birmingham Phoenix for the third edition of the women’s Hundred, which begins two weeks after England’s women wrap up their multi-format Ashes series on July 18.
Though the opening Test at Trent Bridge is still three months away, the 2023 Ashes have already broken records and achieved multiple milestones.
Over 15,500 tickets have already been sold for the first T20I at Edgbaston, surpassing the record 15,187 set last year at Lord’s for a women’s game in England, excluding world events.
Somerset, meanwhile, have announced the July 18 ODI at Taunton’s County Ground has already sold out, becoming the first ever women’s international to completely fill the venue.
Wong has also taken on a new role alongside Harry Brook as an ambassador for Major League Baseball, returning to England for the first time since 2019 with another two-game London Series from June 24-25.
The bowler is especially keen to capitalise on the ‘Moneyball’ sport’s obsession with research and statistics – underwritten by the big budgets of American ownership – by chatting to pitchers about their deliveries, with most in MLB storing several finely-tuned types in their arsenals.
Wong said: “I’m a very difficult person to inspire if it’s not something that I’m interested in (but) I’ve found something I’m really interested in and excited and passionate about.
“Quite selfishly it’s like, how am I going to make myself a better cricketer? And this just seems like a really obvious and exciting way to do it, and it’s a bit of fun at the end of the day.
“There’s probably a lot more experience with that sort of variation than there is in cricket, and potentially a bit more research into it as well.
“I think anywhere there’s a crossover like that, and you can tap into the hard academic work that other people have done and then use it for your own benefit, I don’t see a downside to that.”