It was one big step for Pickleball India. The 1st Pickleball Super League was officially announced with the auction of front-rated players of Maharashtra at Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai. Forty five players were up for auction on the day, out of them thirty six were sold to six different teams.
Conceptualised by the sports management company, Sportscast, Pickleball Super League is the first of its kind not only in India but perhaps in the world. Super Smashers, Mixed Pickles, Ekta Parivaar, Dink Killers, Phantom Stars and Pickloholics are the teams that were formed to draw players from the auction pool.
The players were divided in Men’s, Women’s and Boy’s U-25 category. Each team had to buy two players from each category giving them a total of six players. The teams had a purchase power of 75,000 INR where there was no benefit for saving money. In the Men’s category, the player with the highest base price was Atul Edward, the star of Indian Pickleball. He had the base price of 15,000 INR. Edward was followed by the poster boy of Pickleball India, Manish Rao, whose base price was 14,250 INR. In the Women’s category, top-ranked Vrushali Thakare from Jalgaon got the highest base price of 7,500 INR. She was closely followed by Aurangabad girl Aditi Jagtap whose base price was 7,000 INR. The Boy’s U-25 category had Kuldip Mahajan and Tejas Mahajan in the top two spots. They had the base price of 15,000 INR and 14,250 INR respectively.
The auction that was conducted successfully by Parag Chitale, had its fair amount of ups and downs. While Atul Edward went at 22,500 INR to Pickloholics, rising 7,500 INR from his base price, Manish Rao was taken by Ekta Parivaar surprisingly at his base price only. In the Men’s category the highest rise in price was for Amar Soniminde whose base price was 10,500 INR and was sold to Phantom Stars at 18,500 INR with a rise of 8,000 INR.
The boy’s U-25 category was further more interesting with all the young guns getting utmost attention from the team owners. Kuldip Mahajan went 9,000 INR ahead of his base price to be taken by Super Smashers at 24,000 INR. Interestingly, Kuldip remained the highest-priced player after the auction. The bidders went all out for Aurangabad boy Krishna Mantri whose base price was 13,500 INR. After much bidding, Dink Killers was successful in picking up Mantri at 23,500 INR. The other two stars of this category were Tejas Mahajan and Ajay Chaudhari. Tejas was sold to Ekta Parivaar at 23,250 INR and Ajay who was the first player to go on auction was taken by Mixed Pickles at 22,000 INR.
But more surprises were there in the women’s category. Given that they have to play less matches, the women players were kept at lesser base prices. There was also some indifference shown by the team owners while picking the women players in the beginning. However things started getting brighter with the picking up of Saloni Deoda at 5,500 INR by Ekta Parivaar, going up by 2,500 INR. But to everybody’s wonder, Aditi Jagtap of Jalgaon went 15,000 INR ahead of her base price to be selected by Phantom Stars at 22,000 INR. The second highest-bid woman player was Vrushali Thakere who went to Super Smashers at 16,000 INR.
The event, well-executed by Sportscast , was definitely a curtain raiser for the much awaited Super League that is scheduled from 16th to 18th November, 2018 at Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai. At the end of the auction Sunil Valavalkar, Secretary of All India Pickleball Association (AIPA) ecstatically said, “29th October is turning to be a landmark day for Pickleball India. It was in 2017 that the 1st Indian Open commenced on this date. Coincidentally this year too this date witnessed another first- the Big Auction of players for the first Maharashtra Pickleball League. On behalf of AIPA, I thank Sportscast for smoothly managing the chain of events. However, I can never forget the contribution of my players without whom this could have happened. I am eager to witness that the same league is replicated in other parts of India too.”
TEAM DINK KILLERS:
Men’s– ABHIJEET MADBHAVI & VISHAL CHUG
Women’s– POOJA WAGH & ROSHANI KHAMBAYAT
Boy’s U-25– KRISHNA MANTRI & ASHISH MAHAJAN
TEAM SUPER SMASHERS:
Men’s– BHUSHAN POTNIS & ANKUR KAPADIA
Women’s– VRUSHALI THAKARE & MADHURI VISPUTE
Boy’s U-25– KULDIP MAHAJAN & BIDYUT CHAUDHARY
TEAM EKTA PARIVAAR:
Men’s- MANISH RAO & SAUMITRA KORGAONKAR
Women’s– SALONI DEODA & SHITAL PATIL
Boy’s U-25– TEJAS MAHAJAN & ANIKET DURGAWALI
TEAM MIXED PICKLES:
Men’s– SACHIN MANDREKAR & ASHUTOSH MADBHAVI
Women’s– APARNA CHAUDHARI & KADAMBARI PATIL
Boy’s U-25– AJAY CHAUDHARI & PRASHANT MORE
Men’s– VICKY CHUG & ATUL EDWARD
Women’s– BHAKT ADIVAREKAR & INDIRA PATIL
Boy’s U-25– KUNAL BARE & KASHYAP BARANWAL
TEAM PHANTOM STARS:
Men’s– AMAR SONIMINDE & MIHIR KHANDELWAL
Women’s– ADITI JAGTAP & GENEVIEVE THAKUR
Boy’s U-25– HARSH MEHTA & PRANAY KINJALE