Verma, Gowtham sizzle at Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League 2017

Bengaluru, 6 August 2017: A day of intense bidding, quick mathematics and a variety of permutations and combinations during the Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League player auction on Sunday (August 6), at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, ended with the seven squads of the upcoming tournament taking concrete shape. A total of over Rs 2.06 crores was spent on 126 players in an event that was broadcast live on television, with #NammaKPL as a trending topic on Twitter.

The Pool A players, naturally, sizzled most at the auction tables, with both K Gowtham and Amit Verma going for a massive Rs 7.2 lakh each. Ballari Tuskers saw off competition from both Bengaluru Blasters and Mysuru Warriors to win the signature of Verma, while the battle for Gowtham involved as many as five of the seven teams. Hubli Tigers and Bengaluru opened the bidding, before Mysuru, Ballari and Belagavi Panthers all entered the race. However, it was Belagavi who held firm in the face of some exceedingly intense bidding to secure the signature of Gowtham. 

The bidding war naturally thrilled Amit Verma. “I never expected to go for this amount. But I'm very happy that I'm back in Ballari, because I actually wanted to be back with the same guys. We've got some real good players. Aravind Reddy actually had told me he wanted me back in the team. But even then, I didn't expect to go for this much. But I'm glad and am looking forward to the tournament,” said Verma.

 Mayank Agarwal also breached the Rs 7-lakh mark in what was another bidding war that involved almost all the participant teams. Ballari opened the bidding but was soon challenged by Bijapur. The price rocketed up soon, but that didn’t deter the teams. Mysuru and Hubli joined in the battle as well, and after the Rs 6-lakh mark was breached, Bengaluru threw their hat in the ring. Eventually, Bengaluru and Hubli were the only teams in contention for Agarwal. Bengaluru pulled out after the Rs 7-lakh mark was touched, giving Hubli their prized player. 

There were others in Pool A who went for big money. R Samarth was picked up for as much as Rs 5.9 lakh by Bengaluru, who saw off both Ballari and Bijapur for his signature. Anirudha Joshi was the subject of a fierce battle between Mysuru and Namma Shivamogga, the latter eventually picking him up for Rs 5.8 lakh. Prateek Jain was another player who excited the tables, with all of Ballari, Bijapur and Mysuru vying for him. Ballari, who kept the paddle raised throughout, ended up winning that battle, claiming Prateek for Rs 5.5 lakh. 

Ballari was the first among all the teams to reach their quota of five Pool A players, having signed up KL Rahul, KB Pawan, CM Gautam, Verma and Jain for a total of Rs 16.7 lakh. 

The Pool B auction, held in the afternoon, had more than its share of exciting bidding as well. That was no more evident than in the tussle for the batsman R Jonathan, who became the costliest Pool B player from the 2017 player auction. From the moment his name was drawn from the lot, there was a prolonged tug-of-war between Shivamogga and Bijapur. The price shot up and kept going up till eventually, at Rs 5.10 lakh, Bijapur decided to pull out. Shivamogga emerged with an exciting talent. 

The interest in him pleasantly surprised R Jonathan too. “I was home when I heard the news. I am very glad that the team noticed my talent and are supporting my talent. So many teams wanted me, and that's obviously nice to see. It gives me more confidence to do well in the coming Karbonn Smartphones KPL. I had just returned from practice, when one of my friends called me and said I'd been picked by Namma Shivamogga. My phone hasn't stopped ringing since then, my family and friends have kept calling me and congratulating me,” said Jonathan. 

Stalin Hoover’s was a similarly impressive bidding battle, Belagavi securing his services for Rs 4.5 lakh after seeing off competition from Ballari. Dikshanshu Negi’s was a similar story as all of Bijapur, Ballari and Hubli tussled for his services. His price screamed past the Rs 4 lakh-barrier, before Bijapur sealed his name on their roster for Rs 4.4 lakh. Naveen MG, the all-rounder, was also the subject of interest from Bijapur and Ballari, till he was eventually secured by the former for Rs 4.2 lakh. 

After themain round of auction, the unsold Pool A players were called back, meaningKunal Kapoor was back up for grabs. Ballari pounced on the opportunity to pickhim up for Rs 2.9 lakh. 

CharuSharma, the reputed sports presenter, expertly auctioneered the event, ensuringthe bids kept flowing in thick and fast and followed a strict schedule, all thewhile maintaining an air of joviality. 

SanjayDesai, KSCA president, said: “It was a very exciting player auction. All the teamstried their best, and they all have very well-balanced, strong units now. Wecan now look forward to a hard-fought, competitive sixth edition of the KarbonnSmartphones Karnataka Premier League next month.” 

R.Sudhakar Rao, KSCA honorary secretary, said: “We couldn’t have hoped for a better auction.The franchisees have utilised their purse very smartly and judiciously.Furthermore, they have ensured that a lot of youngsters will now haveopportunities to rub shoulders with some big players in Karnataka cricket.” 

The sixthedition of the Karbonn Smartphones Karnataka Premier League, powered by CyclePure Agarbathies, is to be held in September. The tournament, played in thememory of S.D.N.R Wadiyar, the former president of the KSCA of the scion of theMysore royal family, will be held across three venues in Karnataka – Mysuru,Hubballi and Bengaluru.

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