Sardar, Raghunath, Jackson are stars of HIL auctions

New Delhi: India captain Sardar Singh became the highest-paid marquee player at the inaugural Hockey India League auctions as the Delhi franchise bought him for USD 78,000 (Rs 42.49 lakh), while drag-flicker VR Raghunath also grabbed quite a few eyeballs with an intense bidding war for him here on Sunday.

Raghunath was eventually bought by Sahara Uttar Pradesh Wizards for USD 76,000 (Rs 41.40 lakh) after a lot of drama.

British midfielder

The only Briton in the auction Ashley Jackson was another big gainer as he will go home with a purse of USD 73,000 — a good buy for the Ranchi Rhinos.

Such was the bidding war for Raghunath between UP Wizards and Delhi Waveriders that his ultimate sale price turned out to be USD 10,000 more than UP franchise's marquee player Teun de Nooijer, who was bought for USD 66,000 (Rs 35.93 lakh).

As per rules, a marquee player will get 15 percent more than the highest-paid player of the team and thus Raghunath's price would fetch more for De Nooijer. Interestingly, Raghunath's base price was only USD 13,900 (Rs 7.56 lakh).

But Raghunath's senior teammate Sandeep Singh had an embarrassing day as he was merely paid his base price of USD 27,800 (Rs 15.13 lakh) by Mumbai team. The other highlight was young defender Rupinder Pal Singh fetching USD 56,000 (Rs 30.48 lakh) from Delhi after starting with a modest base price of USD 9,250 (Rs 5.03 lakh) in an interesting bidding war that surprised one and all.

"I am extremely delighted that I have been able to command a good price. I wasn't aware about my price as I was a bit late in coming. By the time I reached here, I was already sold," Sardar said with a smile of contentment after being snapped by Delhi Waveriders.

Will the India captain and his teammates pull each other's leg about their respective prices, Sardar replied, "Certainly. All of us won't let go a chance to indulge into leg-pulling sessions. Already the facebook is filled with updates." Ace drag-flicker Sandeep was left red-faced during the silent bidding of the marquee players as he found to his dismay that Mumbai Magicians have got him for his base price of USD 27,800 (Rs 15.13 lakh). India's captain in the London Olympics debacle, Bharat Chetri, was among the notable unsold players of the day.

However after his disastrous show at the Olympics and subsequent exclusion meant that he had no takers. The saving grace for Sandeep certainly was Aussie defender Joe Carrol who was bought by Mumbai for USD 56,000 which meant that senior India player would at least get 15 percent more as a marquee player.

While The Netherlands captain Teun de Nooijer fetched USD 66,000 as a marquee player from the Sahara-owned UP franchise Uttar Pradesh Wizards, German skipper Morris Fuertze was second highest-paid player commanding a price of USD 75,500 (Rs 41.10 lakh) from the Ranchi Rhinos.

Aussie legend Jamie Dwyer was bought for USD 60,000 (Rs 32.66 lakh) by Punjab Warriors as a marquee player. His national teammate also got a good deal of USD 57,000 (Rs 31.03 lakh) from the same franchise.

Team India forward SV Sunil got a handsome USD 42,000 (Rs 22.86 lakh) from Delhi after their intense bidding war with Punjab. The surprise was veteran defender Ignace Tirkey fetching a whopping USD 31,000 (Rs 16.87 lakh) from Punjab even as senior Pakistan player Mohammed Imran and talented Spanish Pol Amat went unsold.