Saina in Hyd, Lee Chong Wei goes to Mumbai in IBL auction
New Delhi: Star players Saina Nehwal and Lee Chong Wei fetched whopping prices of USD 120,000 and USD 135,000 respectively, while unheralded Pradnya Gadre and K Maneesha received unexpected high bids in the players' auction of the USD one million Indian Badminton League here on Monday.
The London Olympic bronze medallist Saina was bought by Hyderabad Hotshots for approximately Rs 71,27,796 after beating the bids of Lucknow Warriors and Pune Pistons in the much-awaited auction where over 150 players went under the hammer for 66 slots to fill six teams. Each team will have six Indians, four foreigners and one Indian junior player each.
World number one Lee Chong Wei, however, bagged the costliest deal when he was bought by Mumbai Masters for approximately Rs 8,019,032. The Mumbai franchise beat the bids of Banga Beats and Krrish Delhi Smashers.
Saina, one of the six icon players with base price of USD 50,000 (Rs 29,86,264), had stated that she would prefer to be either in Hyderabad or Lucknow team with a slight tilt towards her hometown.
Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Parupalli Kashyap, also an icon player, was picked up by Banga Beats for USD 75,000 (Rs 4,455,622 approx), while rising star P V Sindhu was the big buy netted by Lucknow Warriors for USD 80,000 (Rs 4,752,664 approx).
In another interesting bidding war between Bangalore and Hyderabad, doubles player Pradnya Gadre fetched a whopping USD 46,000 after starting with a base price of USD 10,000, while little-known Maneesha was sold at USD 26,000, more than six times her base price of USD 4000.
Commonwealth Games women's doubles champions Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa went to Delhi Smashers at USD 31,000 (Rs 18,51,520) and USD 25,000 (14,93,125) after their base price was reduced from USD 50,000 to USD 25,000 following a meeting of all the franchises at the last moment.
"Last night we had a closed bidding but then two players Jwala and Ashwini went unsold, so it was scrapped and it was decided that their base price be slashed to USD 25,000 and all icon players should be put under the hammer at the auction," said Ashish Chadha, CEO of Sporty Solutionz, the commercial partner of IBL.