KPL auctions: Gowtham, Verma most expensive; K.L. Rahul sold for ₹50,000

Both the cricketers went for ₹7.2 lakh each, Mysuru Warriors lap up Karun Nair for ₹4 lakh

K. Gowtham will play for the Belagavi Panthers.

Amit Verma and K. Gowtham emerged the most expensive acquisitions at the player auction for the sixth edition of the Karnataka Premier League here on Sunday. The pair went for ₹7.2 lakh each.

While Verma was purchased by Ballari Tuskers after fending off competition from Bengaluru Blasters and Mysuru Warriors, the South Africa bound Gowtham (for India ‘A’) was snapped up by Belagaavi Panthers, following a tussle which involved five of the seven teams in fray.

The amounts were more than twice the record sums paid last year as the teams, bolstered by an increased prize purse, indulged in aggressive bidding. The other player to join the ₹7 lakh club was Mayank Agarwal, with Hubli Tigers securing his services.

R. Samarth, another hot property, was picked up for ₹5.9 lakh by Bengaluru, while Anirudha Joshi went to Namma Shivamogga for ₹5.8 lakh. Prateek Jain, who was the joint top-pick last year, was bought by Ballari for ₹5.5 lakh. Karun Nair, who was with the now-defunct Mangalore United last year, found a home in Mysuru Warriors for ₹4 lakh.

There were quite a few raised eyebrows when K.L. Rahul, the first player on the block, was taken by Ballari for the base price of ₹50,000. There is a chance that Rahul might be on international duty during the course of the tournament and understandably there was no counter bid. In Manish Pandey’s case, Belagaavi Panthers blinked by paying ₹1.6 lakh.

The experienced C.M. Gautam, who was sold for ₹1 lakh last year, gravitated further down, going only at the base price of ₹50,000 to Ballari. Stuart Binny (₹1.1 lakh, Belagaavi) and A. Mithun (₹1 lakh, Bijapur) too didn’t excite the buyers much.

Among the 35 Pool A players in the fray, only two couldn’t find buyers in the first round – David Mathias and Kunal Kapoor. But the duo eventually found suitors, especially the latter, who ended up with Ballari for a handy ₹2.9 lakh.

From Pool B, Rongsen Jonathan, the joint-top earner in 2016, was Namma Shivamogga's for ₹5.1 lakh. The 30-year-old, who has represented Karnataka in List A and T20 cricket, and Railways in the Ranji Trophy, saw his value increase by more than 25 times his base price.

There were similar tall bids for all-rounders Stallin Hoover (₹4.5 lakh, Belagaavi) and M.G. Naveen (₹4.2 lakh, Bijapur), and Dikshanshu Negi (₹4.4 lakh, Bijapur Bulls).