Six Hockey India League (HIL) franchises, including the new Bhbavneshwar franchise Kalinga Lancers, bought 49 players spending a total amount of USD 1.37 million in the Closed Bid held on Friday.
A total of 154 India and foreign players were part of the bid, but only 49 players from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Argentina, Ireland, England, South Africa and India were selected by the franchises for bidding. Kalinga Pacers bought 24 of those 49 players as they had to build their team from scratch. Pakistan players were not part of the pool as their federation didn't give its players the required no-objection certificate (NOC).
Of the 49 players lapped up, 28 were Indians and 21 from overseas. Among other five franchises, Ranchi Rhinos bought one player, Mumbai Magicians 11, Uttar Pradesh Wizards four, Punjab Warriors five and Delhi Waveriders four. Before Friday's Closed Bid, the HIL trading window, which was open from August 19 to September 30, saw the Mumbai franchise trading Sandeep Singh and Satbir Singh to Punjab.
The new sixth franchise Kalinga Pacers bagged 24 players, while Ranchi bought one, Mumbai 11, Uttar Pradesh 4, Punjab 5 and Delhi 4.
Upcoming young forward Ramandeep Singh, who scored a goal on his senior team debut in the Asia Cup this year, turned out to be the most sought-after player. He was lapped by Uttar Pradesh for USD 81,000. Ramandeep was also part of the 2013 Sultan of Johor Cup where he scored six goals in India's winning campaign.
Indian forward Nikin Thimmaiah was the second most costly Indian player at USD 59000 and was also bought by Uttar Pradesh. Defender Gurjinder Singh was picked by Mumbai for USD 56,000 and forward Affan Yousuf by Punjab for USD 35,000
From the pool of foreign players, New Zealand's Ryan Archibald earned the most. He went for USD 71,000 to Kalinga.
Hockey India Secretary General and HIL Chairman, Narinder Batra, said the frachises' interest in junior players was an encouraging sign. "It is a great to see that promising junior players have been bought by franchises at higher than the expected amounts, which is a good sign for the future of Indian hockey," he said.