OPL players go under hammer, Pravanjan goes unsold

Cuttack: The auction for the first edition of Orissa Premier League (OPL), a state-level T20 cricket tournament on the lines of IPL, began on Friday here at the conference hall of Barabati stadium. 

The fierce bidding war took off at 12 noon today with the auction of 50 grade A players. The inaugural edition of OPL witnessed some turnaround as two top state Ranji players—spinner Dheeraj Singh and ace batsman Pravanjan Mallik went unsold. However, all-rounder Dillip Samantaray was sold to Cuttack team at highest bid of Rs 4.6 lakh followed by Paresh Patel who was sold to Bhubaneswar at Rs 3.9 lakh.

Similarly, Natraj Behere got the deal with Rourkela at Rs 2.9 lakh. On the other hand, Bibhudutta Panda, Rakesh Mohanty and Niranjan Behera were sold at Rs 2.2 lakh to Cuttack, Puri and Berhampur franchisees respectively.

Interestingly, former Team India members Shiv Sunder Das and Debasish Mohanty were sold at Rs 1.80 lakh and 1.65 lakh respectively. While the former was sold to Dhenkanal, the latter was signed by Angul Tuskers.

The other players who went under the hammer are—Bikash Pati (Bhubaneswar- Rs 1.7 lakh), Govind Poddar (Balasore- Rs 1.75 lakh), Lagnajit Samal (Berhampur-Rs 1.75), Sameer Mohanty (Jagatsinghpur-Rs 1.7 lakh) and Basant Mohanty (Rourkela-Rs 1.05).

“I will try to meet the expectations of everybody and prove my worth, as I have been bought at a high price,” commented player Biplap Samantray. “I will give 100%. As the teams are in our names, I will try not to disappoint anybody involved,” another player Paresh Patel said.

 On this occasion, franchisee owners, managers, coachers and brand ambassadors were present during the auction.

This apart, Ranjib Biswal (OCA President), Ashirbad Behera (OCA Secretary), and Tirupati Panigrahi (OPL Governing Council Chairman) were present among others.

The cine star Archita, brand ambassador of Jagatsingpur team said, “As each coach and franchisee would like their teams to win, I would also like my team to win.”

According to OPL, the T20 tournament beginning on May 22 would have a total of 44 matches in the opening season, including two semifinals and a final to be played at Barabati stadium here.

The franchisees can spend maximum Rs 8 lakh to buy the players. The base price of grade A players has been fixed at Rs 60,000, Rs 40,000 for grade B players, Rs 30,000 for grade C, Rs 20,000 for grade D players and Rs 10, 000 for grade E players. Each team would be allowed to purchase 18 players, of which a maximum of 12 would be between A to D grade, while the remaining six would be from E grade. The teams can field maximum eight players from grade A, B, C, D and a minimum of three players from grade E. The teams would be divided into two groups and each team of the group will play two matches with each other. The matches will be played at Cuttuck, Bhubaneswar, Angul and Paradip.