Marquee magic missing

The much talked about Hockey India League (HIL) auction last Sunday may well have given a new lease of life to the troubled sport, but not all teams taking part in the inaugural edition are happy.

A few top officials of the Mumbai Magicians, owned by the Daburs, have expressed dissatisfaction over the 'distorted' auction process, which left them with a relatively weaker team and, more importantly, a weak marquee player, drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, who doesn't even rank among the best in the country at present.

Sandeep was sold to Mumbai at his base price of Rs15.15 lakh. Considering that marquee players get 15% more than the highest paid player in the team, Sandeep will be pocketing approximately Rs. 35 lakh.

Sandeep was the last of the five marquee players up for selection and Mumbai, the only team who were without a marquee player until that point, picked him at base price.

Apart from Sandeep and Australia's Jamie Dwyer, India captain Sardar Singh, Dutch great Teuen de Nooijer and Germany skipper Moritz Fuertse were the other marquee players in the auction pool. "The distribution of marquee players could have been more even. It wasn't balanced, which distorted things a bit," Mumbai Magicians chief coach Ric Charlesworth told The Indian Express.

Mumbai and Punjab had quoted the same amount for Dwyer during the secret bid. A coin toss subsequently followed to decide which team Dwyer would play for. The toss went in Punjab's favour, which meant that Sandeep, the only unsold marquee player in the auction, was 'purchased' by Mumbai.

"The process was a difficult one for us. Losing the toss was just bad luck. But of course there's scope for improvement when it comes to the auction process. Hopefully, it'll be taken care off the next time," Charlesworth, also Australia's national coach, said.

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