The first ever Pro Volleyball League draft and auction took place on December 14 in New Delhi. The league, which is an initiative of Baseline Ventures and Volleyball Federation of India, is scheduled to have its maiden season in February 2019.
More than hundred Indian players as well as several top international stars went under the hammer in the auction for the first season that is going to see six franchises participate. British sports commentator Patrick Kinghorn will be seen handling the auctioneer duties.
Ranjit Singh was the most expensive buy of the inaugural season. He was bought by Ahemdabad Defenders for a who[[ing INR 13 lakhs. After the auction, Ranjit interacted with SportsFlashes and stated that the price tag is a huge motivation and pressure for him to perform. He was quick to point out that the franchise must have thought about churning out the said amount on him, and he is eager to repay their trust and cash prize. He, along with CEO of the venture Joy Bhattacharya, believes the league's exposure will be beneficial for the Indian players. They will brush their shoulders along side international star players and that may work wonders for all involved.
The international stars include Olympic gold medalist David Lee, Canada’s Rudy Verhoeff, USA’s Paul Lotman and Carson Clark, Serbia’s Novika Bjelika and Turkey’s Tomislav Coskovic. The list of Indian Icon players include Akhin, Ukkra Pandian, Deepesh, Gurinder Singh, Vinit Kumar, Jerome Vinith and Prabhagaran S.
According to the league rules, the first season will see 12 players in each team, with the provision of a maximum of two reserve players. Each squad will have two Sr. International Players, Indian Icon Player and a minimum of two Indian U-21 Players. The rest of the players will be selected from the pool of Indian International and Indian domestic players. Each team will have a salary purse of Rs. 75 lakhs.
Ramavtar Singh Jakhar, the Secretary-General of Volleyball Federation of India, sounded upbeat about the league’s first-ever auction. He said, “There is no better time to be a volleyball player than now with the emergence of the Pro Volleyball League. We have seen how other sporting leagues have changed the lives of the players and raised the level of the sport in the country. The list of players in the pool available to teams through auction and draft will surely make the first edition exciting.”
Tuhin Mishra, Co-founder & MD, Baseline Ventures Pvt. Ltd, said, “These are exciting times for us at the Pro Volleyball League as we inch closer to the player draft and auction. We have received an overwhelming response from foreign players who were keen on being part of the event and with a strong pool of talented Indian players. With that, we are ready to kick-off what promises to be one of the most entertaining and action-packed sporting events. ”
The six teams on board to participate in the first edition of Pro Volleyball League will be Ahmedabad Defenders, Calicut Heroes, Chennai Spartans, U Mumba Volley, Black Hawks Hyderabad and Kochi Blue Spikers. The league will be played in two legs across Kochi and Chennai from February 2nd to February 22nd and will be broadcasted live on SONY TEN 3 and SONY SIX.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega