Inaugural Premier Handball League auctions conclude; India internationals draw strong attention from all teams
Total of 18 foreign players were up for bidding with players from countries like Russia, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, and the Philippines
It’s almost time for India to Handball as the inaugural edition of the Premier Handball League inches closure with the conclusion of its auction process late on Sunday. A total of 116 players including International, India Internationals and Domestic Handball talent were up for selection by six franchises namely – Delhi Panzers, Garvit Gujarat, Golden Eagles Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra Ironmen, Rajasthan Team (yet to be named) and Telugu Talons.
The auctions started with the category of foreign players, the international players represented the Asian Handball Federation amongst other federations and all 18 International players were picked up by the teams. Each team was allowed to only select one foreign right-back, left-back and goalkeeper respectively. In terms of the biggest foreign imports, Telugu Talons went for the services of Andrei Igorevich Nedbailo (Goalkeeper) from Russia – a six-time Russian champion. Garvit Gujarat picked up Tuliboev Mukhtor (Right Back) from Uzbekistan, the 24-year-old is known for his exploits with the Uzbek team at the Interamnia World Cup wherein they clinched gold. Golden Eagles Uttar Pradesh also made sure they didn’t fall short and went all out to secure the services of Iran’s Omid Reza (Goal Keeper), who has represented his country in the IHF Handball World Cup in the last two World Cup editions. On the other hand, Maharashtra Ironmen secured the services of Iran’s Right Back Jalal Kiani. Kiani is a silver medallist with the national team at the Asian Games. Delhi Panzers went for the 20-year-old Artem Martynov (Right Back) from Russia, a 2019 Russian Handball Championship gold medallist. Lastly, it was the Rajasthan Team (yet to be named) who selected the services of Iraq’s left-back Baderaladeen Naser.
The second category was reserved for Indian star players and 42 players were up for selection by the franchises.
Under this category, each team was allowed to pick only one player for each of the seven positions i.e. Right Back, Left Back, Centre Back, Right Wing, Left Wing and Pivot. Amongst the top Indian buys, Telugu Talons went for Raghu Kumara (Pivot) a four-time national champion, Garvit Gujarat secured Harender Singh Nain (Right Back) as their star Indian player, a three-time national champion and a two-time Gold medallist at the Federation Cup Tournaments and Golden Eagles Uttar Pradesh selected Bhushan Shinde (Right Wing) as their most valuable Indian asset for the
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league. For Maharashtra Ironmen, winger Ankit Kumar – a member of Gold Medal Winning Indian Squads for the IHF Trophy- in 2016 & 2018 and a Silver medallist at the 2019 South Asian Games was the most valuable player. Delhi Panzers went for Pivot Mintu Sardar again a three-time national champion and lastly, it was Rajasthan who selected Robin Singh (Left Back) – a four-time national champion as their most valuable Indian star player.
The final category of the day was called Role Players and 56 domestic Indian players were a part of the same. 42 out of the 56 were picked. Telugu Talons’ most valuable in this category was Rahul Nain (Pivot), ), Garvit Gujarat went with Right Back – Surender Kumar, and Golden Eagles selected Sanchit Gupta (Right Wing) and Mohit Punia (Right Back) joined Maharashtra Ironmen. Delhi Panzers went with youth and picked up the 20-year-old Pivot Deepak and lastly, Rajasthan secured Mohit Ghanghas (Left Back) as their biggest player in the Role Players category.
Speaking about the auction process Manu Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Bluesport Entertainment Private Limited said, “It was an exhilarating experience. We have been working on solidifying the structure of the Premier Handball League for a while. A successful auction process has taken us a step closer to D-Day. I would like to thank all the franchise owners, the South Asian Handball Federation and Handball Association India for making the auctions a huge success. Being the first edition, it took a lot of research by the franchises to select the best 17 for their team but this also makes the inaugural season even more exciting as a lot of unknown elements will be at play when they finally get onto the field.”
The Premier Handball League (PHL), is sanctioned by the South Asian Handball Federation and affiliated with the Asian Handball Federation (AHF). The inaugural season of the Premier Handball League is set to kick off on June 8 and run until June 25, 2023, which will be broadcast on the Viacom18 network on JioCinema, Sports 18-1 (HD & SD) and Sports 18 Khel.