He went for ₹5.6 lakh at the last auction three years ago but this time, international A. Karthik struck it rich at the Prime Volleyball League’s player auction here on Tuesday, going for ₹15 lakh, the maximum allowed.
Middle blocker Karthik, picked by Kochi Blue Spikers, was one of the three who were sold for ₹15 lakh, the others being internationals Ashwal Rai (Kolkata Thunderbolts) and Jerome Vineeth (Calicut Heroes).
“I thought I’d get ₹10 lakh maximum, I didn’t expect this,” the 32-year-old Karthik, India’s captain at the Asian championship in Japan in September, told Spotik. “Playing for teams in Kerala, which is a hot place for volleyball, is something I wanted very much.”
After the international player draft, where the seven sides picked two foreigners each, the teams were left with ₹45 lakh each. Kochi, also the PVL host city early next year, had spent the most in the platinum category which had the top Indian stars.
“This particular auction is a celebration of the players of India, we are very happy to see 400 of them out here. The last time we had a volleyball player auction, we had some 114 players,” said Joy Bhattacharya, the PVL’s CEO
Calicut Heroes: Foreigners: Aaron Koubi (France, attacker), David Lee (USA, blocker); Indians: C. Ajithlal (attacker, ₹8.5 lakh), Jerome Vinith (universal, ₹15 lakh).
Kochi Blue Spikers: Colton Cowell (attacker), Cody Caldwell (attacker, both USA); Deepesh Kumar Sinha (blocker, ₹10.75 lakh), A. Karthik (blocker, ₹15 lakh).
Ahmedabad Defenders: Ryan Meehan (USA, blocker), Rodrigo Villalboa (Argentina, attacker); Muthusamy (setter, ₹10 lakh), Hardeep Singh (attacker, ₹4.4 lakh), Shon T. John (attacker, ₹7.25 lakh), L.M. Manoj (middle blocker, ₹7.25 lakh) and P. Prabakaran (Libero, ₹4 lakh).
Hyderabad Black Hawks: Luis Antonio Arias Guzman (Venezuela, universal), Henry Bell (Cuba, attacker); V. Hariharan (setter, ₹5 lakh), Vipul Kumar (setter, ₹4.5 lakh), Rohit Kumar (attacker ₹5.3 lakh) and Amit Gulia (attacker, ₹10 lakh).
Chennai Blitz: Fernando David Gonzalez Rodriguez (Venezuela, attacker), Bruno Da Silva (Brazil, attacker); G.S. Akhin (middle blocker, ₹9.75 lakh), Naveen Raja Jacob (attacker, ₹8 lakh), M. Ukkrapandian (setter, ₹7.75 lakh), G.R. Vaishnav (middle blocker, ₹4 lakh).
Bengaluru Torpedoes: Noah Taitano (USA, universal), Kyle Friend (USA, attacker); Ranjit Singh (setter, ₹4.4 lakh), Pankaj Sharma (attacker, ₹7.5 lakh), Lavmeet Katariya (middle blocker, ₹4.6 lakh), P. Rohith (middle blocker, ₹7.5 lakh), B. Midhun Kumar (libero, ₹5.6 lakh)
Kolkata Thunderbolts: Matthew August (USA, blocker), Ian Satterfield (USA, universal); Vinit Kumar (universal, ₹8.75 lakh), Ashwal Rai (middle blocker, ₹15 lakh).
The PVL schedule has not been released yet. However, there will be 24 matches between 6 teams in Prime Volleyball League. The six teams in the tournament are Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Kolkata Thunderbolts, Ahmedabad Defender, Hyderabad Black Hawks, Chennai Blitz and Bangalore Torpedoes. The Prime Volleyball League can be seen on Sony Ten One, Sony Ten Two, Sony Ten Three, Sony Ten Four and Sony Live. In addition, the competition will be broadcast in regional languages.