Saina Nehwal's wish to be in her home team came true as Hyderabad Hotshots bought the Indian star for $120,000 but world number one Lee Chong Wei proved to be the costliest, going to Mumbai Masters for $135,000 in the inaugural Indian Badminton League's players auction in New Delhi today.
Saina, one among the six icon players whose base price was set at $50,000 (Rs 29,70,482), had stated that she would prefer to be either in Hyderabad or Lucknow with a slight tilt towards her hometown.
Her wish was fulfilled with Hyderabad picking her up after making a bid of $120,000 (Rs 71,27,796 approx). But it was Malaysian icon Lee Chong Wei, who got the franchises really excited, triggering a bidding war between Mumbai Masters and the Delhi Smashers.
Eventually, Mumbai, which has cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar among its consortium of owners, came out trumps to bag the biggest international name in fray at the auction for Rs 8,019,032 approximately.
Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Parupalli Kashyap, also an icon player, was picked up by Banga Beats for $75,000 (Rs 4,455,622 approx). Rising star P V Sindhu was the big buy netted by Lucknow Warriors for $80,000 (Rs 4,752,664 approx), while feisty doubles star Jwala Gutta went to Delhi Smashers at $31,000 (Rs 1,841,699). Jwala's base price was $25,000 (Rs 1,485,241).