Money is flying thick and fast in the Hockey India League (HIL). During an auction for the fourth edition of the tournament on Thursday, German Olympic gold medal-winning player Moritz Fuerste drew the highest bid -- he was bought for a whopping $1,05,000 by the Kalinga Lancers, while Indian national team captain Sardar Singh drew a damp squib. He drew a bid of $58,000.
The other Germans to have drawn the attention of the teams is striker Florian Fuchs, who was picked up by Dabang Mumbai for $96,000 against his base price of $20,000 and midfielder Tobias Hauke, who was purchased by Uttar Pradesh Wizards for $96,000 against his base price of $25,000.
Indian drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh and striker Dharanvir Singh were in greater demand than Sardar as they bagged $68,000 and $60,000, respectively, by Delhi Waveriders and Kalinga Lancers against their base prices of $20,000 each.
After a rather slow start to the auctions that saw only two players from lot one being picked in Vikramjeet Singh ($4,500, Ranchi Rays) and Australian Kieron Govers ($36,000, Dabang Mumbai), Sardar's name -- the first on lot two --created a buzz among the franchises with Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Punjab Warriors going head to head for the 29-year-old star midfielder.
With a base price of $20,000, Sardar was eventually bought by the Warriors for only $58,000, which turned out to be much less than the amount he garnered in the inaugural edition. He was sold for $78,000 to Delhi Waveriders in 2012 before the franchise released him this year.
The highlight of the second lot was the 23-year-old FIH Young Player of the Year Fuchs, regarded as one of the sport's most lethal strikers in world hockey. Fuchs was on the radar of every franchise and he quickly went past Sardar's price with UP Wizards, Mumbai and the Lancers bidding vigorously for the young German.
In the end, Mumbai picked him up for a hefty price of $96,000.
But it was Fuchs' Germany team-mate Fuerste who bagged the highest price as he was purchased for $1,05,000 against his base price of $30,000. Initially it was a three-way fight among the Delhi Waveriders, UP Wizards and Dabang Mumbai vying for his services, but in the end the Lancers pulled off a late heist with their record bid.