Badminton’s first brush with big money wasnt smooth. At the inaugural Indian Badminton Leagues players auction,one franchise side exhausted its purse before it could fill all spots in its squad. This after base prices of a couple of iconic players was slashed at the last minute on the request of owners.
The glitches resulted in confusion at the auction hall where a fumbling auctioneer,with an incomplete list of players,put 60 players under the hammer.
Hyderabad Hotshots,who pocketed the most sought-after star Saina Nehwal for $120,000,was left with just $1,000 with one more player to sign. With minimum bids starting at $3,000,Hyderabad was forced to forgo one of its initial buys to reach the basic squad strength of 10 players.
two for the price of one
This resulted in Rohit C Yadav,with a price tag of $5,000,being discarded in favour of Kanthi Visalakshmi P and Shubhankar Dey,who were bought for $3,000 each. Yadav remained unsold as all other teams had completed their bidding by the time Hyderabad got their act together. It was an oversight on our part as we were trying to get the most out of our purse, said Rajeev Kamineni,executive director of the PVP group that owns the Hyderabad franchise.
It has been corrected and we are happy with the players we have bought, he added.
Another correction concerned the base price of players. On request from franchise teams,the organisers – Sporty Solutionz and the IBLs governing council – agreed to drop the opening bids for icon players,Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta,to $25,000 from $50,000.
The base price had to be lowered after team owners said they were not ready to spend money on Ponnappa and Gutta as womens doubles does not figure in the IBL format.
Sporty Solutionzs CEO Ashish Chadha admitted the base prices of Ponnappa and Gutta were lowered on the request of team owners.
As there is no womens doubles in the IBL in the first season,team owners were reluctant to start bidding in the open auction from $50,000 for Ashwini and Jwala.
However,these players will receive $50,000 each from the respective teams that bought them. However,the difference between the winning bid amount $31,000 for Gutta and $25,000 for Ponnappa and $50,000 has not been deducted from the overall team purse, Chadha said.
Auctioneer Bob Hayton too had a hard time handling the buys. A mixed up list resulted in some players such as Russian Vladimir Ivanovs auction being delayed .